UPSC Mains 2019
Time: 3 Hours
Max. Marks: 250

Question Paper Specific Instructions

Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions :
There are Twenty questions printed both in Hindi and in English.
All questions are compulsory.
The number of marks carried by a question/ part is indicated against it.
Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Questions-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for
answers are written in a medium other than the authorized one.

Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.
Keep the word limit indicated in the questions in mind.
Any page or portion of the page left blank in the Questions-cum-Answer Booklet must be clearly struck off.

UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-I

  1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of Gupta Numismatic Art is not at all noticeable in later times ? (150 words)
  2. Clarify how Mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented Polity ? (150 words)
  3. Why did the Moderates fails to carry conviction with the  nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of nineteenth century? (150 words)
  4. What problems were germane to the decolonization in the Malay Peninsula? (150 words)
  5. How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of earth ? (150 words)
  6. “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for Development”. Discuss. (150 words)
  7. Mention the advantages of Cultivation of pulses because of which year 2016 was declared as the International year of Pulses By the United Nations. (150 words)
  8. How does the crysosphere affect global climate ? (150 words)
  9. In the context of diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the states? Give reasons with examples for your viewpoint. (150 words).
  10. What are the two major legal initiatives by state since Independence, addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (ST) ? (150 words).
  11. The spirit and tolerance not only an interesting feature of Indian Society from very early times but it is also playing an important role in the present. Elaborate. (250 words).
  12. Examine how the decline of artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy.(250 words)
  13. Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century. (250 words)
  14. Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multi-dimensional effects.
  15. Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (250 words)
  16. In what way can floods be converted to sustainable source of irrigation and all weather inland navigation in India ? (250 words)
  17. What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of World population residing in Monsoon Asia ? (250 words)
  18. The women’s questions arose in modern India as the part of 19th century social reform movement. What are the major issues and debates concerning women in that period? (250 words)
  19. Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and Communalism giving one example of how the farmer has got transformed into latter in Independent India? (250 words)
  20. “The growth of cities as I.T Hubs has opened new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples. (250 words).

UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-II

  1. The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance.” Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation. (10)
  2. Critically examine the Supreme court’s judgment on National Judicial appointments Commission act, 2014 with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India.            (10)
  3. “Simultaneous election to the lok sabha and the state Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people.” Discuss                                    (10)
  4. How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged as more powerful than formal pressure groups in recent years?                                            (10)
  5. Discuss the role of Public account Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.
  6. “To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs the identification of the beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes.” Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme.      (10)
  7. Does the rights of persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for the empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss    (10)
  8. Hunger and poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measure for improvement. (10)
  9. “China is using its economic relation and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia” In the light of this statement. Discuss its impact on India as her neighbor.   (10)
  10. What are the main function of the United Nations Economic and social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different function commission attached to it.  (10)
  11. Explain the salient features of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough “to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for common national market for goods and services”?    (15)
  12. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy.     (15)
  13. The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reason thereof.      (15)
  14. To enhance the quality of democracy of India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful?        (15)
  15. Is the national commission for women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres?    (15)
  16. The emergence of the self-help groups (SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from development activities.” Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs. (15)
  17. Poverty alleviation programmes in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India.    (15)
  18. Initially Civil services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services? Comment.     (15)
  19. The question of India’s Energy Security constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyze India’s energy policy cooperation with west Asian countries.     (15)
  20. Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in south-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context.      (15)

UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-III

  1. Among several factors for India’s potential growth, savings rate is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the other factors available for growth potential?    (10 Marks)
  2. Account for the failure of manufacturing sector in achieving the goal of labour-intensive exports. Suggest measures for more labour-intensive rather than capital – intensive exports.    (10 Marks)
  3. Examine the development of airports in India through joint ventures under Public – private Partnership (PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard?    (10 Marks)
  4. Explain various types of revolutions, took place in agriculture after Independence in India. How these revolutions have helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India?    (10 Marks)
  5. What are the reasons for poor acceptance of cost-effective small processing unit? How the food processing unit will be helpful to uplift the socio-economic status of poor farmers?    (10 Marks)
  6. Stem cell therapy is gaining popularity in India to treat a wide variety of medical conditions including Leukaemia, Thalassemia, damaged cornea and servere burns. Describe briefly what stem cell therapy is and what advantages it has over other treatments?    (10 Marks)
  7. India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbitter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space missions. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Examine critically.     (10 Marks)
  8. Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming a reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment.     (10 Marks)
  9. Discuss the potential threats of Cyber attack and the security framework to prevent it.    (10 Marks)
  10. The North- East region of India  has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region.     (10 Marks)
  11. One of intended objectives of the Union Budget 2017-18 is to transform, energise and clean India’. Analyse the measure proposed in the Budget 2017-18 to achieve the objective.     (15 Marks)
  12. “Industrial growth rate has lagged-behind in the overall growth of Gross-Domestic-product (GDP) in the post-reform period.” Give reasons. How far the recent changes in Industrial-policy are capable of increasing the industrial growth rate?     (15 Marks)
  13. What are the salient features of inclusive growth? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyse and suggest measures for inclusive growth.      (15 Marks)
  14. What are the major reasons for declining rice and wheat yield in the cropping system? How crop diversification is helpful to stablise the yield of the crops in the system?     (15 Marks)
  15. How do subsidies affect the cropping pattern, crop diversity and economy of farmers? What is the significance of the crop insurance, minimum support price and food processing for small and marginal farmers ?       (15 Marks)
  16. Give an account of the growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India. What is the advantages of fast breeder reactor programme in India?     (15 Marks)
  17. ‘Climate change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change?     (15 Marks)
  18. On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on fourteen countries including India. Discuss the factor responsible for occurrence of tsunami and its effects on life and economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events.     (15 Marks)
  19. Mob violence is emerging as a serious law and order problem in India. By giving suitable example, analyze the causes and consequences of such violence.      (15 Marks)
  20. The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding?        (15 Marks)

UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-IV


Q1. Conflict  of interest in  the  public sector arises when
(A) Official duties. 
(B) Public  interest, and
(C) Personal interest,
Are taking priority one above the other.
How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. (150 Words)

Q2. Examine the relevance of the following in the context  of civil service : (150 Words)
(A) Transparency
(B) Accountability
(C) Fairness and justice
(D) Courage of conviction 
(E) Sprit of service

Q3.   Young people  with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join  active politics.
Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. (150 Words)


(a) One of the taste of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real  life example.  (150 Words)
(b) Corporate  social responsibility  makes companies  more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. (150 Words)


(a)  “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good  or very bad acts.
All depends on the principles Which direct them.” –  Napolean  Bonaparte.
Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country.  (150 Words)

 (b)    “if a country is to be corruption  free and become a nation of a beautiful mind,  I  strongly feel  there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the  mother and the techer.” – A.P.J.  Abdul Kalam. Analyse.  (150 Words)


(a)  how will you apply emotional intelligence  in administrative practice?
(b)  Strength, peace and Security  are considerd to be the pillars of  international relations. Elucidate .


(a)  The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced  to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss.
(b)  Increased national wealth did not  result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some ‘’enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost the majority.’’ Justify.


(a) Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination.However it may be  counterproductive for the organisation. Discuss.
(b)   Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligation, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy  will function properly.
 What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in the contemporary times.


Q9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:

(a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.

(b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference. 

(c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals

(d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient. 

Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (250 Words)

Q10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.

What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (250 Words)

Q11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organisation. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.

What recommendation would you provide the management?

Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendations. (250 Words)

Q12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.

What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (250 Words)

Q13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent labourers including women and children died. These labourers are migrants of different places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder.

Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (250 Words)

Q14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative behaviour and actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same time there are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardises the genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice.

What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (250 Words)

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