In this Article, I wanna walk you through the UPSC Mains Question Paper 2021 (General Studies Paper).
UPSC Mains Question Paper – 2021
UPSC Mains 2021
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
Q1. Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture.
Q2. Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj.
Q3. Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States.
Q4. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats.
Q5. Despite India being one of the countries of the Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in percentage. Discuss.
Q6. what are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples.
Q7. Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment.
Q8. Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer.
Q9. Examine the uniqueness of tribal knowledge system when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems.
Q10. Examine the role of ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India.
Q11. To what extent did the role of the moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment.
Q12. Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement.
Q13. ” There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement.
Q14. Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples.
Q15. How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain.
Q16. Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world.
Q17. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India?
Q18. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail.
Q19. What is Cryptocurrency? How does it affect global society? Has it been affecting Indian society also?
Q20. How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it.
UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-2
Q1. ‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‘Constitutional Morality’ with the help of relevant judicial decisions.
Q2. Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness.
Q3. How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the states to improve their fiscal position?
Q4. To what extent, in your view, the Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India?
Q5. “Pressure groups play a vital role in influencing public policy making in India.” Explain how the business associations contribute to public policies.
Q6. “Besides being a moral imperative of Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary pre-condition for sustainable development.” Analyze.
Q7. “‘Earn while you learn’ scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful.” Comment.
Q8. Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples.
Q9. “If the last few decades were of Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be of Africa’s.” In the light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years.
Q10. “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of a China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain.
Q11. The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) regarding lodging an FIR and conducting probe within a particular state is being questioned by various States. However, the power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute. Explain with special reference to the federal character of India.
Q12. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures.
Q13. Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India.
Q14. Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations.
Q15. Do Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control? Evaluate the working of such committees with suitable examples.
Q16. Has digital illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, couple with lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility hindered socio-economic development? Examine with justification.
Q17. “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu?
Q18. Can Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations present an alternative model of public service delivery to benefit the common citizen. Discuss the challenges of this alternative model.
Q19. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India.
Q20. The newly tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strenght and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario.
UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-3
Q1. Explain the difference between computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015.
Q2. Distinguish between Capital Budget and Revenue Budget. Explain the components of both these Budgets.
Q3. How did land reforms in some parts of the country help to improve the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers?
Q4. How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (Answer in 150 words)
Q5. How is the S-400 air defense system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world?
Q6. Explain the purpose of the Green Grid Initiative launched at World Leaders Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. When was this idea first floated in the International Solar Alliance (ISA)?
Q7. Describe the key points of the revised Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) recently released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). How are these different from its last update in 2005? What changes in India’s National Clean Air Programme are required to achieve these revised standards?
Q8. Discuss about the vulnerability of India to earthquake-related hazards. Give examples including the salient features of major disasters caused by earthquakes in different parts of India during the last three decades.
Q9. Discuss how emerging technologies and globalization contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels.
Q10. Keeping in view India’s internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks.
Q11. Do you agree that the Indian economy has recently experienced V- shapes recovery? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Q12. “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth. ”Discuss in the light of India’s experience.
Q13. What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013 ? How has the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India?
Q14. What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification?
Q15. What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology/? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the societ?
Q16. The Nobel Prize in Physics of 2014 was jointly awarded to Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura for the invention of Blue LEDs in 1990s. How has this invention impacted the everyday life of human beings?
Q17. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference?
Q18. Describe the various causes and the effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy.
Q19. Analyse the multidimensıonal challenges posed by external state and non-state actors, to the internal security of India. Also discuss measures required to be taken to combat these threats.
Q20. Analyse the complexity and intensity of terrorism, its causes, linkages and obnoxious nexus. Also suggest measures required to be taken to eradicate the menace of terrorism.
UPSC Mains Question Paper: General Studies-4
Q1. (a) Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix.
(b) Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describe the /ways and means to prevent non-ethical behaviour in the pubic servants.
Q2. (a) Impact of digital technology as a reliable source of input for rational decision-making is a debatable issue. Critically evaluate with a suitable example.
(b) Besides domain knowledge, a public official needs innovativeness and creativity of a high order as well, while resolving ethical dilemmas. Discuss with a suitable example.
Q3. What does each of the following quotations mean to you?
(a) “Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.-Swami Vivekananda
(b) “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until and unless we obtain peace within ourselves.” – Dalai Lama
(c) Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that it is better for us all.” -Erik Erikson word
Q4. (a) Attitude is an important component that goes as input in the elopement of humans How to build a suitable needed for a public servant?
(b) In case of crisis of conscience does emotional intelligence help to overcome the same without compromising the ethical or moral stand that you are likely to follow? Critically examine.
Q5. (a) “Refugees should not be turned back to the country where they would face persecution or human rights violation.” Examine the statement with reference to the ethical dimension being violated by the nation claiming to be democratic with an open society.
(b) Should impartial and being non-partisan be considered as indispensable qualities to make a successful civil servant? Discuss with illustrations.
Q6. (a) An independent and empowered social audit mechanism is an absolute must in every sphere of public service, including judiciary, to ensure performance, accountability, and ethical conduct. Elaborate.
(b) “Integrity is a value that empowers the human being.” Justify with suitable illustration. (Answer in 150 words)
Q7. Sunil is a young civil servant and has a reputation for his competence, integrity, dedication, and relentless pursuit of difficult and onerous jobs. Considering his profile, he was picked up by his bosses to handle a very challenging and sensitive assignment. He was posted in a tribal-dominated district notorious for illegal sand mining. Excavating sand from river belts and transporting it through trucks and selling them in the black market was rampant. This illegal sand mining mafia was operating with the support of local functionaries and tribal musclemen who in turn were bribing selected poor tribals and had kept the tribals under fear and intimidation.
Sunil being a sharp and energetic officer immediately grasped the ground realities and the modus operandi followed by the mafia through their devious and dubious mechanism. On making inquiries, he gathered that some of their own office employees are in hand and glove with them and have developed close unholy nexus. Sunil initiated stringent action against them and started conducting raids on their illegal operations of the movement of trucks filled with sand. The mafia got rattled as not many officers in the past had taken such steps against the mafia. Some of the office employees who were allegedly close to mafia informed them that the officer is determined to clean up the mafia’s illegal sand mining operations in that the district and may cause them irreparable damage.
The mafia turned hostile and launched a counter-offensive. The tribal musclemen and mafia started threatening him with dire consequences. His family (wife and old mother) were stalked and were under virtual surveillance and thus causing mental torture, agony, and stress to all of them. The matter assumed serious proportions when a muscleman came to his office and threatened him to stop raids, etc., otherwise, his fate will not be different than some of his predecessors (ten years back one officer was killed by the mafia).
- Identify the different options available to Sunil in attending to this situation.
- Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.
- Which of the above, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Sunil to adopt and why? (Answer in 250 words)
Q8. You are Vice Principal of a degree college in one of the middle–class towns. The principal has recently retired and management is looking for his replacement. There are also feelers that the management may promote you as Principal. In the meantime, during annual examination, the flying squad came from the university caught two students red-handeld involving in unfair means. A senior lecturer of the college was personally helping these student in this act. This senior lecturer also happens to be close to the management. One of the students was son of a local politician who was responsible in getting college affiliated to the present reputed university. The second student was son of a local businessman who has donated maximum funds for running of the college. You immealately informed the management regarding this unfortunate incident. The management told you to resolve the issue with flying squad at any cost. They further said that such incident will not only tarnish the image of the college but also the politician and businessman are very important personalities for the functioning of the college. You were also given hint that your further promotion to Principal depends on your capability in resolving this issue with flying squad. In the meantime, you were intimated by your administrative officer that certain members of the student union are protesting outside the college gate against the senior lecturer and the students involved in this incident and demanding strict action against defaulters.
- Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case.
- Critically examine the options available with you as Vice Principal. What option will you adopt and why? (Answer in 250 words)
Q9. An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular state. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is to complete the project in next two years by 20 June, 2021, since this project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by inspecting team, a minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that minimum three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished and reconstructed. But this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. But the chief engineer overruled the observation of inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack which will not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to overlook the observation of inspecting team and continue working with same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also informed you that the contractor is far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you hint that your further promotion as additional chief engineer is under consideration with the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier of the elevated corridor will adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it will be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor.
- Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?
- What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager?
- What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges?
- What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team? (Answer in 250 words)
Q10. The coronavirus disease (CoVID-19) pandemic has quickly spread to various countries. As on May 8th, 2020, in India 56342 positive cases of corona had been reported. India with a population of more than 1-35 billion had difficulty in controlling the transmission of coronavirus among its population. Multiple strategies became necessary to handle this outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India raised awareness about this outbreak and to take all necessary actions to control the spread of COVID-19. Indian Government implemented a 55-day lockdown throughout the country to reduce the transmission of the virus. Schools and colleges had shifted to alternative mode of teaching- learning-evaluation and certification. Online mode became popular during these days. India was not prepared fora sudden onslaught of such a crisis due to limited infrastructure in terms of human resource, money and other facilities needed for taking care of this situation. This disease did not spare anybody irrespective of caste, creed, religion on the one hand and have and have not’ on the other. Deficiencies in hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ambulances, hospital staff and crematorium were the most crucial aspects You are a hospital administrator in a public hospital at the time when coronavirus had attacked large number of people and patients were pouring into hospital day in and day out.
- What are your criteria and justification for putting your clinical and non-clinical staff to attend to the patients knowing fully well that it is highly infectious disease and resources and infrastructure are limited?
- If yours is a private hospital, whether your justification and decision would remain same as that of a public hospital? (Answer in 250 words)
Q11. A Reputed food product company based in India developed a food product for the international market and started exporting the same after getting necessary approvals. The company announced this achievement and also indicated that soon the product will be made available for domestic consumers with almost sane quality and health benefits. Accordingly, the company got its product approved by the domestic competent authority and launched the product in the Indian market. The company could increase its market share over a period of time and earned substantial profit both domestically and internationally. However, the random sample test conducted by the inspecting team found the product being sold domestically in variance with the approval obtained from the competent authority. On further investigation, it was also discovered that the food company was not only selling products that were not meeting the health standard of the country but also selling the rejected export products in the domestic market. This episode adversely affected the reputation and profitability of the food company.
- What action do you visualize should be taken by the competent authority against the food company for violating the laid down domestic food standard and selling rejected export products in domestic market?
- What course of action is available with the food company to resolve the crisis and bring back its lost reputation?
- Examine the ethical dilemma involved in the case. (Answer in 250 words)
Q12. Pawan is working as an officer in the State Government for the last ten years. As a part of the routine transfer, he was posted to another department. He joined in a new office along with five other colleagues. The head of the office was a senior officer conversant with the functioning of the office. As a part of general inquiry, Pawan gathered that his senior officer carries the reputation of being a difficult and insensitive person having his own disturbed family life. Initially, all seem to go well. However, after some time Pawan felt that the senior officer was belittling him and at times unreasonable. Whatever suggestions given or views expressed by Pawan in the meetings were summarily rejected and the senior officer would express displeasure in the presence of others. It became a pattern of the boss’s style of functioning to show him in bad light highlighting his shortcomings and humiliating him publically. It became apparent that though there are no serious work-related problems/shortcomings, the senior officer was always on one pretext or the other and would scold and shout at him. The continuous harassment and public criticism of Pawan resulted in loss of confidence, self-esteem, and equanimity. Pawan realized that his relations with his senior officer are becoming more toxic and due to this, he felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. His mind was occupied with negativity and caused him mental torture, anguish and agony. Eventually, it badly affected his personal and family life. He was no longer joyous, happy and contented even t home. Rather without any reason he would loose his temper with his wife and other family members. The family environment was no longer pleasant and congenial. His wife who was always supportive to him also became a victim of his negativity and hostile behaviour. Due to harassment and humiliation suffered by him in the office, comfort and happiness virtually vanished from his life. Thus it damaged his physical and mental health.
- What are the options available with Pawan to cope with the situation?
- What approach Pawan should adopt for bringing peace, tranquillity and congenial environment in the office and home?
- As an outsider, what are your Suggestions for both boss and subordinate to overcome this situation and for improving the work performance, mental and emotional hygiene?
- In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for at various levels in the government offices? (Answer in 250 words)