IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [10th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • February 12, 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [10th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis


1. Intelligence agencies play a vital role in securing the territory of India from terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal arms trade. However, recent attack in Pathankot has exposed the weakness of Indian intelligence apparatus. What reasons would you attribute for the current state of affairs? What corrective measures can be taken? Discuss.


Answer must contain 3 parts.

First to elaborate on how intelligence has been vital in guarding Indian Territory?

  • Even from ancient times effective statecraft lies on robust intelligence systems as noted in arthashastra.
  • India has about 15000km land boundary and 7500km sea boundary.With resource shortage to man the entire boundary, intelligence becomes crucial in safeguarding sovereign interests.

Second, what are the weaknesses of intelligence which led to pathankot attack and others?

  • Many initiatives were taken post 26/11 attacks to create a fool proof  intelligence system. Some of which are to create NATGRID and CCTNS.
  • Although NATGRID which aims to bring access to relevant, real-time information is set up, it’s not yet fully operational bringing down its effectiveness.
  • CCTNS which will facilitate the collection, storage, analysis and sharing of data at the police stations and the State Headquarters is yet to take off. It must provide real time access to information with the various intelligence agencies of the states
  • Intelligence Bureau is understaffed upto 30% of its strength, “has less than 5,000 field agents to gather ground information from a population of 1.2 billion.
  • R&AW has shortage of personnel and also personnel with language skills and local knowledge, particularly languages like Arabic, Chinese and Pakistani etc. Also in shortage are personnel in critical technology positions of cryptanalysts, who are supposed to break enemy codes and ciphers which is a crucial link in intelligence.
  • Most officials in intelligence agencies are on deputation. Without permanent staff, required skills cannot be fully developed.
  • Poor coordination among agencies, turf wars, competing interests and political fault-lines, lack of technological resources, difficulties of co-ordination between states and the centre, limited use of cyber technologies.
  • As the examples of Pathankot attack or the recent attack on Buddhist monastery shows, although there were intelligence about the attack there was no “actionable intelligence”.
  • Police population ratio is 138 per lakh population as against UN prescribed 220 per lakh population. First line of defence against any attack is the well trained police force.


Third, The steps which can be taken to fill the gaps?

  • Adequate resources in terms of men and material for the agencies mentioned.
  • Unique identity (AADHAR) system can be integrated with the border protection initiative.
  • Regular audit of police and intelligence to identify and fix loopholes.
  • Police modernization and Strengthening of ground level intelligence through strengthened beat policing and patrolling.
  • Citizen Intelligence Network (CIN) can be created to make citizens part of the intelligence gathering mechanism.

Best Answer: PK

Recent terror attacks are pointer to the fact that Intelligence collection and action in such cases have been unable to either exact the information or to peg the losses to minimum. . However, there are following points to be considered while determining the reasons for intelligence weaknesses –

  • A steep cut in deep assets of the RAW overseas has curtailed information liaison & exchanges.
  • Frequent conflict and lack of co-ordination between RAW, IB, Military intelligence, Cost Guard, state police among others.
  • No central command to act over intelligence inputs and respond to strategic emergencies
  • Highly unpredictable targets have pushed intelligence to a point where it can ordinarily be not accurate to real point and time.
  • Over reliance on hi-tech by authorities when the terrorists operate low profile and in person
  • Conventional intelligence gets redundant when even death is no deterrent for a terrorist

However, there are few major recourses to strengthen our effectiveness under such circumstances –

  • A National Security Doctrine unambiguously defining our resolve against terrorism, narcotics, endangered species trading, human trafficking, arms trade, money laundering etc.
  • Creation of a Central Command and Control to deal strategic emergencies and securing borders.
  • A nodal agency with overriding authority on issues of national security to co-ordinate Ministry of Home, Defence, Intelligence bodies, state police etc.
  • Special Mobile retaliation teams for land and costal border emergencies.
  • Creation of database and e-verification for immigrants to check illegal ones.
    Improved cyber security
  • International liaison and lobbying with countries for the common cause.
  • Parliamentary overview on this Central agency to check any excesses.
  • India can learn much from USA’s Home land Department of Security , created after 9/11 attacks, which serves as the umbrella agency dealing with immigration, intelligence, narcotics, customs, transport, cyber security, nuclear biological weapons etc.

2. The policy of disinvestment has been revived to an extent recently. Why such policy change has been adopted by the government? Is disinvestment a good policy? Critically examine.


As a policy tool used from 1991 in New Economic Policy, based on recommendation of Rangarajan committee and krishnamoorti committee

Means: government selling its share to public thereby reducing its ownership in PSU

Why now?

  • Because of global economic slowdown in demand less money with the government to undertake social sector initiatives
  • To comply with FRBM act to maintain fiscal deficit at 3.9 percent
  • To meet the requirements due to OROP,7th pay commission and 14th finance commission
  • Recent initiatives of MAKE IN INDIA ,DIGITAL INDIA, road initiatives of Bharatmala Sagarmala etc need lot of investment

Is it a good policy???

Yes : because-

  • government can sell non-viable PSUs to reduce the financial burden i.e it can save money and it can be spent on core sectors
  • will provide more investment opportunity to public as investors and helps in increasing financial literacy.
  • can be used to contain fiscal deficit in the short run
  • introduces more competition and market discipline
  • will depoliticize the functioning of PSUs make them more efficient by giving them more autonomy
  • helps in technology up gradation and will help in rationalizing workforce


  • financing of fiscal deficit is a bad trend as it is unsustainable so government has to look for other sustainable sources
  • retrenchment of workers because of rationalizing of work force
  • if not used for infrastructure up gradation will be disastrous for the country will be akin to selling family gold to consume non durables
  • privatization will lead to price rise
  • government will lose its long term revenue which was supposed to come through dividends
  • distress selling will lead to selling of stake at below the market value


Best answer: HappyIAS

Disinvestment means the sale of less than 51% govt. shares in PSUs so that the govt. holds the ownership and management rights.

Rationale behind disinvestment:

  • Private ownership leads to better resource management.
  • PSUs need restructuring to survive competition in the globalized world order and to adhere to WTO commitments. Currently, many PSUs have turned into liabilities rather than assets due to high debts and losses. (Ex: Air India, BSNL, MTNL)
  • To reduce fiscal deficit.
  • To upgrade and modernize the PSUs.

However, disinvestment is not a good policy because:

  • Private firms focus on profit maximization, not on equitable distribution of resources for all classes.
  • Eventually, govt. dividend income will decrease owing to less shares. So, fiscal deficit will increase.
  • It will not help in financial inclusion.
  • Disinvestment proceeds to finance fiscal deficit is an unhealthy practice. (like selling family gold)
  • PSU employees might lose their jobs in order to keep less staff and maximize profit.
  • To meet disinvestment targets, govt. directs one PSU to buy shares of another PSU. This doesn’t decrease govt. control.

Although, disinvestment is required to provide a fresh breather to the loss making PSUs, this should not lead to exclusion of the lower strata from reaping the benefits. So, it should be well executed keeping in mind the profit making Maharatnas and all the sections of society, in line with the recommendations of Rangarajan committee on disinvestment

3. A soldier was rescued from an avalanche in the Siachin region recently. What causes an avalanche? What sort of precautionary measures should be taken in regions that are prone to this disaster? Discuss.  

Two part

What are the causes?


Natural causes:

  • Snowstorm and wind direction: 24 hours after snowstorm are critical.
  • Wind blows from one side of mountain slope to another side and while blowing up it will scour snow off the surface, which can overhang the mountain.
  • Heavy snowfall: It may deposit snow in unstable areas and puts pressure on snow pack. Precipitation during summer is responsible for wet snow avalanche.
  • Earth quakes: Earthquake and tremor may cause it as it leads to crack in snow pack.

e.g. Earthquake in Taiwan may have led to Siachen Avalanche as it lies on Karakoram Mountains range.

Human induces causes:

  • Avalanches can also be triggered by other loads such as skiers, snowmobilers, animals or explosives or patrolling often put pressure on the snow-pack which it cannot deal. Combined with the heavy deforestation and soil erosion in mountain regions, it gives the snow little stability in the winter months. Further natural causes include earthquakes and tremors, since they can often create cracks in the snow-pack.
  • Vibration or Movement: The use of All Terrain Vehicles and Snowmobiles creates vibrations within the snow that it cannot withstand. Coupled with the gravitational pull, it is one of the quickest ways to cause an avalanche. The other is construction work done with explosives, which tend to weaken the entire surrounding area.

There are many sites around the world that are potential or have already experienced avalanches which leads to close roads, cover train tracks and disrupt local economies and towns and death of persons. France, Swiss mountains, Western Canada, Alaska are just a few places that have high probability of avalanches. In India, major avalanche prone area is in himalayas region particularly in glaciers areas.


Controlling measures:

Avalanche preventive structure

Stepped terrace, avalanche prevention piles, suspended tence, snow net etc should be constructed to prevent avalanches from initiating or to retard its movement before it gains momentum.

Avalanche protection structure
Avalanche retaining wall , avalanche wedge , earth mound, snow shed etc can be used to keep the moving snow of avalanche away from structures in critical location.

Snow drift prevention structure
Collector snow fence, blower snow fence, snow shelter should be used to allow avalanches to cross road/railroad without interrupting the traffic.

Predicting the occurrence of avalanches through stability analysis and issuing warning about impending avalanche to the soldiers who can switch to safety snow shed equipped with all essentials to survive for a week.

Best Answer: Mr.DESIRE

Avalanche refers to sudden flow of large mass of snow and ice down a slope such as mountainside. It usually occurs during the winter and spring when snowfall is greatest.

Avalanches can be caused by many different things. Some of them are natural and others are artificial.

Natural causes:

  • Heavy precipitation such as snow or rain can cause accumulated snow suddenly to dislodge and cascade down the side of a mountain.
  • Earthquakes and natural movements of animals have also been known to cause avalanches.

Artificial causes:

Snowmobiles, skiers, gunshots and explosives have all been known to cause avalanches.

There are many sites around the world that are potential or have already experienced avalanches which leads to close roads, cover train tracks and disrupt local economies and towns and death of persons. France, Swiss mountains, Western Canada, Alaska are just a few places that have high probability of avalanches. In India, major prone in Himalayas region particularly in glaciers areas.

Some of precautionary measures such as

  • Simplistic way of avoiding getting caught in an avalanche is to recognize where one is most likely to occur. People are encouraged to never travel into risky areas alone.
    • If or when people caught, try to Dig or swim to the top of the moving snow to stay as close as possible to the surface.
  • People such as skiers, snowmobilers are encouraged to wear an avalanche beacon, so if they are trapped the rescuers will be able to find them.
  • Constructing Avalanche dam and tunnels and Snow Bridge may reduce some damage.
    • Avalanche warning signals issued fast by disaster authorities and precautionary closure of roads and evacuation of dwellings.


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