UPSC Mains Question Paper2023
Time: 3 Hours

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 2023: General Studies-I

  1. Explain the role of geographical factors towards the development of Ancient India. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  2. What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  3. Bring out the socio-economic effects of the introduction of railways in different countries of the world. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  4. Discuss the consequences of climate change on the food security in tropical countries. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  5. Why is the world today confronted with a crisis of availability of and access to freshwater resources? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  6. How are the fjords formed? Why do they constitute some of the most picturesque areas of the world? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  7. Why is the South-West monsoon called ‘Purvaiya’ (easterly) in Bhojpur Region? How has this directional seasonal wind system influenced the cultural ethos of the region? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  8. Do you think marriage as a sacrament in loosing its value in Modern India?  (Answer in 150 words) 10
  9. Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian Society. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  10. Child cuddling is now being replaced by mobile phones. Discuss its impact on the socialization of children. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  11. What are the main features of Vedic society and religion? Do you think some of the features are still prevailing in Indian society? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  12. What were the major technological changes introduced during the Sultanate period? How did those technological changes influence the Indian society?(Answer in 250 words) 15
  13. How did the colonial rule affect the tribals in India and what was the tribal response to the colonial oppression?(Answer in 250 words) 15
  14.  Comment on the resource potentials of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in these areas.(Answer in 250 words) 15
  15. Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rain forests regions of India.(Answer in 250 words) 15
  16. Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  17. From being net food importer in 1960s, India has emerged as a net food exporter to the world. Provide reasons. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  18. Does urbanization lead to more segregation and/or marginalization of the poor in Indian metropolises? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  19. Why is caste identity in India both fluid and static? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  20. Discuss the impact of post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. (Answer in 250 words) 15

UPSC Mains Question Paper 2023: General Studies-2

  1. “Constitutionally guaranteed judicial independence is a prerequisite of democracy”. Comment. 10
  2. Who are entitled to receive free legal aid? Assess the role of the National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) in rendering free legal aid in India. 10
  3. “The states in India seem reluctant to empower urban local bodies both functionally as well as financially.” Comment. 10
  4. Compare and contrast the British and Indian approaches to Parliamentary sovereignty. 10
  5. Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices. 10
  6. The  crucial aspect of development process has been the inadequate attention paid to Human Resource Development in India. Suggest measures that can address this adequacy. 10
  7. Discuss the role of the Competition Commission of India in containing the abuse of dominant position by the Multi-National Corporations in India. Refer to the recent decisions. 10
  8. e-governance, as a critical tool of governance, has ushered in effectiveness, transparency and accountability in governments. What inadequacies hamper the enhancement of these features? 10
  9. ‘Virus of Conflict is affecting the functioning of the SCO’. In the light of the above statement point out the role of India in mitigating problems. 10
  10. Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India. 10
  11. ” The Construction of India is a living instrument with capabilities of enormous dynamism. It is a constitution made for a progressive society”. Illustrate with special reference to the expanding horizons of the right to life and personal liberty. 15
  12. Explain the constitutional perspectives of Gender Justice with the help of relevant Constitutional Provisions and case laws. 15
  13. Account for the legal and political factors responsible for the reduced frequency of using Article 356 by the Union Governments since mid 1990s. 15
  14. Discuss the contribution of civil society groups for women’s effective and meaningful participation and representation in state legislatures in India. 15
  15. Explain the significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act. To what extent does it reflect the accommodative spirit of federalism? 15
  16. Explain the structure of the Parliamentary Committee system. How far have the financial committees helped in the institutionalization of Indian Parliament? 15
  17. “Development and welfare schemes for the vulnerable, by its nature, are discriminatory in approach.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. 15
  18. Skill development programs have succeed in increasing human resources supply to various sectors. In the context of the statement analyze the linkages between education, skill and employment. 15
  19. ‘The expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership works well in India.’ What is your opinion about this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your answer. 15
  20. ‘Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’. Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO(International Maritime Organisation) in protecting environment and enhancing maritime safety and security. 15

UPSC Mains Question Paper 2023: General Studies-3

  1. Faster economic growth requires increased share of the manufacturing sector in GDP, particularly of MSMEs. Comment on the present policies of the Government in this regard. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  2. What is the status of digitalization in the Indian economy? Examine the problems faced in this regard and suggest improvements. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  3. How does e-Technology help farmers in production and marketing of agricultural produce? Explain it. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  4. State the objectives and measures of land reforms in India. Discuss how land ceiling policy on landholding can be considered as an effective reform under economic criteria. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  5. Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does AI help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of AI in the healthcare? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  6. Discuss several ways in which microorganisms can help in meeting the current fuel shortage. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  7. Dam failures are always catastrophic, especially on the downstream side, resulting in a colossal loss of life and property. Analyze the various causes of dam failures. Give two examples of large dam failures. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  8. What is oil pollution? What are its impacts on the marine ecosystem? In what way is oil pollution particularly harmful for a country like India? (Answer in 150 words) 10
  9. Winning of ‘Hearts and Minds’ in terrorism affected areas is an essential step in restoring the trust of the population. Discuss the measures adopted by the Government in this respect as part of the conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  10. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) by our adversaries across the borders to ferry arms/ammunitions, drugs, etc., is a serious threat to the internal security. Comment on the measures being taken to tackle this threat. (Answer in 150 words) 10
  11. Most of the unemployment in India is structural in nature. Examine the methodology adopted to compute unemployment in the country and suggest improvements. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  12. Distinguish between ‘care economy’ and ‘monetized economy’. How can care economy be brought into monetized economy through women empowerment? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  13. Explain the changes in cropping pattern in India in the context of changes in consumption pattern and marketing conditions. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  14. What are the direct and indirect subsidies provided to farm sector in India? Discuss the issues raised by the World Trade Organization(WTP) in relation to agricultural subsidies. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  15. The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  16. What is the main task of India’s third mood mission which could not be achieved in its earlier mission? List the countries that have achieved this task. Introduce the subsystems in the spacecraft launched and explain the role of the ‘Virtual Launch Control Centre’ at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre which contributed to the successful launch from Sriharikota. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  17. Comment on the National Wetland Conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of international importance included in the Ramsar Sites. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  18. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one metre by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region? (Answer in 250 words) 15
  19. What are the internal security challenges being faced by India? Give out the role of Central Intelligence and Investigative Agencies tasked to counter such threats. (Answer in 250 words) 15
  20. Give out the major sources of terror funding in India and efforts being made to curtail these sources. In the light of this, also discuss the aim and objective of the ‘ No Money for Terror [NMFT]’ Conference recently held at New Delhi in November 2022. (Answer in 250 words) 15

UPSC Mains Question Paper 2023: General Studies-4



(a) What do you understand by ‘moral integrity’ and ‘professional efficiency in the context of corporate governance in India ? Illustrate with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words)10

(b) ‘International aid’ is an accepted form of helping ‘resource-challenged’ nations. Comment on ‘ethics in contemporary international aid’.  Support your answer with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words)10


(a) “Corruption is the manifestation of the failure of core values in the society.” In your opinion, what measures can be adopted to uplift the core values in the society? (Answer in 150 words)10

(b) In the context of work environment, differentiate between ‘coercion’ and
‘undue influence’ with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words)10

Q3. Given below are the three quotations of great thinkers. What do each of these quotations convey to you in the present context?

(a) “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand
heads bowing in prayer.” – Mahatma Gandhi (Answer in 150 words)10

(b) “To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Ones she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.” – Jawaharlal Nehru (Answer in 150 words)10

(c) Do not hate anybody, because that hatred that comes out from you must, in the long run, come back to you. If you love, that love will come back to you, completing the circle.” – Swami Vivekanand. (Answer in 150 words)10


(a) What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ- not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” Do you agree with this view ? Give reasons in support of your answer. (Answer in 150 words)10

(b) Differentiate ‘moral intuition from ‘moral reasoning’ with suitable
examples. (Answer in 150 words)10


(a) Is conscience a more reliable guide when compared to laws, rules and regulations in the context of ethical decision making ? Discuss. (Answer in 150 words)10

(b) ‘Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development.’ Discuss. (Answer in 150 words)10


(a) What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world.(Answer in 150 words)10

(b) Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance?(Answer in 150 words)10


Q7. You are working as an executive in a nationalized bank for several years.
One day one of your close colleagues tells you that her father is suffering from heart disease and needs surgery immediately to survive. She also tells you that she has no insurance and the operation will cost about Rs. 10 lakh. You are also aware of the fact that her husband is no more and that she is from a lower middle class family. You are empathetic about her situation. However, apart from expressing your sympathy, you do not have the resources to fund her.

A few weeks later, you ask her about the well-being of her father and she informs you about his successful surgery and that he is recovering. She then confides in you that the bank manager was kind enough to facilitate the release of Rs. 10 lakh from a dormant recount of someone to pay for the operation with a promise that it should be confidential and be repaid at the earliest. She has already started paying it back and will continue to do no until
it is all returned.
(a) What are the ethical issues involved ?
(b) Evaluate the behavior or the bank manager from an ethical point of view.
(c) How would you react to the situation ?

(Answer in 250 words)20

Q8. A landslide occurred in the middle of the night on 20th July, 2023 in a remote mountain hamlet, approximately 60kilometers from Uttarkashi. The landslide was caused by torrential rains and has resulted in large-scale destruction of property and life. You, as district magistrate of the area, have rushed to the spot with a team of doctors, NGOs, media and police along with numerous support staff to oversee the rescue operations.

A man came running to you with a request for urgent medical help for his pregnant wife who is in labor and is losing blood. You directed your medical team to examine his wife. They return and convey to you that this woman needs blood transfusion immediately. Upon enquiry, you come know that a few blood collection bags and blood group test kits are available in the ambulance accompanying your team. Few people of your team have already
volunteered to donate blood.

Being a physician who has graduated for AIIMS, you know that blood for transfusion needs to be procured only through a recognized blood bank.
Your team members are divided on this issue; some favor transfusion while some others oppose it. The doctors in the team are ready to facilitate the delivery provided they are not penalized for transfusion. Now you are in a dilemma. Your professional training emphasizes on prioritizing service to humanity and saving lives of individuals.
(a)What are the ethical issues involved in this case?
(b) Evaluate the options available to you, being District Magistrate of the

(Answer in 250 words)20

Q9. At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office. Her husband, Vikram, is an executive in an MNC and frequently out of town in connection with his work. Their two children aged 5 and 3 are looked after by their domestic helper. At 9:30 pm her superior, Mr. Suresh calls her and asks her to prepare a detailed note on an important matter to be discussed in a meeting in the Ministry. She realises, that she will have to work on Sunday to finish the additional task given by her superior.
She reflects on how she had looked forward to this posting and had worked long hours for months to achieve it. She had kept the welfare of people uppermost in discharging her duties. She feels that she has not done enough justice to her family and she has not fulfilled her duties in discharging essential social obligations. Even as recently as last month she had to leave her sick child in the nanny’s care as she had to work in the office. Now, she feels that she must draw a line, beyond which her personal life should take precedence over her professional responsibilities. She thinks that there should be reasonable limits to the work ethics such as punctuality, hard work, dedication to duty and selfless service.
(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in this case.
(b) Briefly describe at least four laws that have been enacted by the Government with respect to providing a healthy, safe and equitable working environment for women.
(c) Imagine you are in a similar situation. What suggestions would you make to mitigate such working conditions?

(Answer in 250 words)20

Q10. Vinod is an honest and sincere IAS officer. Recently, he has taken over as Managing Director of the State Road Transport Corporation, his sixth transfer in the past three years. His peers acknowledge his vast knowledge, affability and uprightness.

The Chairman of the State Road Transport Corporation is a powerful politician and is very close to the Chief Minister. Vinod comes to know about many alleged irregularities of the Corporation and the high-handedness of the Chairman in financial matters.
A Board Member of the Corporation belonging to the Opposition Party meets Vinod and hands over a few documents along with a video recording in which the Chairman appears to be demanding bribe for placing a huge order for the supply of QMR tyres. Vinod recollects the Chairman expediting clearing of pending bills of QMR tyres.

Vinod confronts the Board Member as to why he is shying away from exposing the Chairman with the so-called solid proof he has with him. The member informs him that the Chairman refuses to yield to his threats. He adds that Vinod may earn recognition and public support if he himself exposes he Chairman. Further, he tells Vinod that once his party comes to power, Vinod’s professional growth would be assured.
Vinod is aware that he may be penalized if he exposes the Chairman and may further be transferred to a distant place. He knows that the Opposition Party stands a better chance of coming to power in the forthcoming elections.
However, he also realizes that the Board Member is trying to use him for his own political gains.
(a) As a conscientious civil servant, evaluate the options available to Vinod.
(b) In the light of the above case, comment upon the ethical issues that may arise due to the politicization of bureaucracy.

(Answer in 250 words)20

Q11.  You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central
Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, is passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life.
A new lady architect. Seema, trained at Manchester School of Architecture, UK joined as Senior Architect in your division. During the briefing about the project, Seema made some suggestions which would not only add value to the project, but would also reduce completion time. This has made the Chief Architect insecure and he is constantly worried that all the credit will go to her. Subsequently, he adopted a passive and aggressive behaviour towards her and has become disrespectful to her. Seema felt it embarrassing as the Chief Architect left no chance of humiliating her. He would very often correct her in front of other colleagues and raise his voice while speaking to her. This continuous harassment has resulted in her losing confidence and self-esteem. She felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. She appeared to be in awe of him since he has had a long tenure in the office and has vast experience in the area of her work.

You are aware of her outstanding academic credentials and career record in her previous organisations. However, you fear that this harassment may result in compromising her much needed contribution in this important project and may adversely impact her emotional well-being. You have also come to know from her peers that she is contemplating tendering her resignation.
(a) What are the ethical issues involved in the above case?
(b) What are the options available to you in order to complete the project as well as to retain Seema in the organization?
(c) What would be your response to Seema’s predicament? What measures would you institute to prevent such occurrences from happening in your organization ?

(Answer in 250 words)20

Q12. You hold a responsible position in a ministry in the government. One day in the morning you received a call from the school of your 11-year-old son that you are required to come and meet the Principal. You proceed to the school and find your son in the Principal’s office. The Principal informs you that your son had been found wandering aimlessly in the grounds during the time classes were in progress. The class teacher further informs you that your son has lately become a loner and did not respond to questions in the class, he had also been unable to perform well in the football trials held recently. You bring your son back from the school and in the evening, you along with your wife try to find out the reasons for your son’s changed behaviour. After repeated cajoling, your son shares that some children had been making fun of him in the class as well as in the WhatsApp group of the students by calling him stunted, duh and a frog. He tells you the names of a few children who are the main culprits but pleads with you to let the matter rest.

After a few days, during a sporting event, where you and your wife have gone to watch your son play, one of your colleague’s son shows you a video in which students have caricatured your son. Further, he also points out to the perpetrators who were sitting in the stands. You purposefully walk past them with your son and go home. Next day, you find on social media, a video denigrating you, your son and even your wife, stating that you engaged in physical bullying of children on the sports field. The video became viral on social media. Your friends and colleagues began calling you to find out the details. One of your juniors advised you to make a counter video giving the background and explaining that nothing had happened on the field. You, in turn posted a video which you have captured during the sporting event, identifying the likely perpetrators who were responsible for your son’s predicament. You have also narrated what has actually happened in the field and made attempts to bring out the adverse effects of the misuse of social media.
(a)Based on the above case study, discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of social media.
(b)Discuss the pros and cons of using social media by you to put across the facts to counter the fake propaganda against your family.
(Answer in 250 words)20

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