UPSC Mains 2020 GS Paper 1: Question wise analysis - Civilsdaily (2022)

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“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle”

The saying will hold no greater significance than this year, as we analyze the GS mains exam of UPSC in 2020. Those who would have followed the tests (Sectional and FLTs) whole-heartedly, would have felt the exam as their home-turf.

We’ve provided a question by question analysis of the GS paper 1 below but before that let’s start with some of the observations that we came up with while analysing the whole paper.

GS Paper 1: Observations

  • Comparing it with 2019 mains, we see more directness in the questions rather than twists and turns.
    1. Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long-term implications on the national movements.
    2. How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India?
  • In terms of coverage of topics, the weightage is as follows:
    1. History (modern India)- 2
    2. Art & Culture- 4
    3. Geography- 8
    4. Society and Social issues- 6
  • Geography questions seem to be very straightforward, NCERT based and current affairs-based.
    1. NCERT based-
      • Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone.
      • How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far- reaching impact on the water resources of India?
      • Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.
      • Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change.
    2. Current Affairs based:
      • The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples.
      • The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine.
  • In History, this time Art & Culture was the centre of attraction, but questions were more or less manageable if aspirants had thoroughly gone through the NCERTs.
  • Social Issues:
    1. Some questions were easy to manage like- Covid 19 and Class Inequalities, Caste lost its relevance.
    2. Some Questions required a philosophical bent because of the open-endedness-
      • Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?
      • Do you agree that regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness? Argue.

Overall the questions were manageable and with some analytical ability could have been easily tackled. Since the questions were straightforward so more dimensions will fetch good marks.

GS paper 1: How useful was CivilsDaily’s Mains Test Series?

The test series questions that CivilsDaily provided held quite a similarity with the themes and the structure of questions asked in the mains exam. This happened because we try to keep in mind the central themes being asked in the last 8-9 years in UPSC. After a thorough analysis, we came up with 30-35 themes on which we always ask questions. So our test series also relied on those themes and we came so close.

Question-wise analysis of the UPSC Mains 2020 GS Paper 1

Having said that, here is the evidence of our claims, regarding how closer we were:

Q1. The rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss.

CD TEST Q. Highlighting various phases of Rock Cut Architecture in India, discuss their socio-cultural and religious importance in Indian History.

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: start with a simple explanation of what rock-cut architecture is and how it is significant for telling about the history.

Body: start with examples from Ancient India history- the Bhimbetka caves, moving on to South Indian rock-cut caves.

  • Natural caves were the earliest caves used by local inhabitants. The natives used such caves for different purposes like places of worship and shelters. The Mesolithic period (6000 BC) saw the first use and modifications of the early caves, a fact manifested by archaeological evidences.
  • The Rock-cut structures present the most spectacular piece of ancient Indian art specimen. Most of the rock-cut structures were closely associated with various religions and religious activities.
  • Numerous caves were excavated by the Buddhist monks for prayer and residence purposes.
    • The best example of this is Chaityas (prayer halls) and viharas (monasteries). Inside these rock-cut structures, windows and balconies and gates were carved as huge arch shaped openings.


Rock cut architecture tells us about all aspects of history as visible evidence which may be missed out in other forms of evidence like Hagiographies, numismatics etc.

Q2. Pala period is the most significant phase in the history of Buddhism in India. Enumerate.

Approach to Answer:

  • Introduce by telling the importance of Pala period in the context of Buddhism.
  • Gopala, the first Pala king, was a Buddhist and so all of his descendants also were.
  • The Pala rulers used the revenue from the new tax collection methods to fund initiatives all across the region that would spread Buddhism.
  • The Pala rulers followed an approach of religious tolerance- this allowed for a peaceful exchange of ideas between the faiths and is a large factor in why Hindu Tantrism made its way into Buddhism, giving rise to the Vajrayana philosophy.
  • The Pala dynasty created the environment for Buddhist monasteries to thrive and discuss philosophies without prejudice. But, importantly, it also facilitated the spread of these ideas around the world, leaving a legacy that we can still see today.

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Q3. Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long term implications on the national movements.

CD Test Q.How far is it correct to say that if Clive was the founder of the British Empire in India, Warren Hastings was its administrative organizer? (10 marks)

Approach to Answer:

  • Introduction: briefly state Curzon’s policy
  • Body:
    • Partition of Bengal 1905
    • His Educational interventions
    • Reactionary policies
    • Opposition to formation of Congress
    • Administrative reforms
  • Conclusion:
    • Curzon’s policies had both the positive and negative effects. But the Indian Nationalists were mature enough to learn from his mistakes and thus easily moulded the policies as per nation’s need.

Q4. Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone.

Approach to Answer:

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  • Introduction: mention the area of circum pacific zone
  • Use Map
  • Geophysical characteristics :
    • subduction” tectonic structure
    • Island arcs and deep-focus earthquakes
    • Oceanic trench
    • active volcanoes- Seventy-five percent of Earth’s volcanoes—more than 450 volcanoes—are located along the Ring of Fire.
    • This stretch of the Ring of Fire is a transform boundary, where plates move sideways past one another

Q5. The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples.

CD TEST Q. What is desertification? In a recently held Bonn Agreement, India has promised to take certain steps to combat land degradation. Discuss the causes of land degradation and suggest measures on combating it. (10 marks)

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: What do you mean by DESERTIFICATION. Recent meet on UNCCD.

Body: begin with describing how desertification has become a global phenomenon across geography and boundaries.

  • The combined impact of climate change, land mismanagement and unsustainable freshwater use has seen the world’s water-scarce regions increasingly degraded. This leaves their soils less able to support crops, livestock and wildlife.
  • Although natural causes like disasters, water erosion and wind erosion are major causes of Desertification, the alarming rise in it can be attributed to mainly anthropogenic factors which includes climate change, overgrazing by animals, deforestation, unsustainable farming practices and the overexploitation of resources by humans.
  • In the case of India, 96 million hectares or close to 29% of India’s area is undergoing degradation and according to the data recently presented to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), India lost 31%, or 5.65 million hectares (mha), of grassland area in a decade. Also, more than 80% of the country’s degraded land lies in just nine states.
  • Globally, the rate of desertification is speeding up. Africa is the worst affected continent; with two-thirds of its land either desert or drylands. Almost a third of land in the U.S. is affected by desertification; and one quarter of Latin America and the Caribbean, and one fifth of Spain.

Conclusion: Ending desertification is the best chance the world has to stabilize the effects of climate change, save wildlife species and protect our well-being. Protecting the forest is our mutual responsibility, which should be carried out by people and governments worldwide.

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Q6. How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far- reaching impact on the water resources of India?

CD TEST Q. What are landslides and how do they occur? What are the causes of more frequent occurrence of landslides in the Himalayas than in the Western Ghats? (15 )

Approach to Answer:

  • Introduction: about Himalyan physical characteristics and its association with water resources in India.
  • With different glaciers, connect it with how important it is in providing water resources to different parts of India
  • It is predicted that the region will become increasingly urbanized as cities expand to absorb migrants in search of economic opportunities.
  • changes in the availability of water resources could play an increasing role in political tensions, especially if existing water management institutions do not better account for the social, economic, and ecological complexities of the region.

Q7. Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.

CD TEST Q. The Iron and steel industry is the backbone of industrial development. Explain. Highlight the locational factors of this industry in India.

Why this question?

Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: to begin with, mention the role of iron and steel industries in introduction.

Body: Begin by explaining why they are present away from the source of raw materials.

  • Transportation facilities available at accessible cost
  • Increasing automation
  • The raw material based industries are now facing disadvantages because of depleting reserves of raw material.
    • So, considering long-term survival of the industry, it is desirable for the industries to select a location which can provide sustained growth to the industry.
  • The drastic reduction of coal use and develop­ment of fuel economy also attracted industries to the areas where transport is cheaper;
    • For example, a cheap water route or break of bulk location, where due to loading and unloading facilities, raw materials are available at a much cheaper price.

Q8. Has caste lost its relevance in understanding the multi- cultural Indian Society? Elaborate your answer with illustrations.

CD TEST Q. Manifestation of caste and modern Democracy are two opposite poles in Indian political system. Analyse.

CD TEST Q. Capitalism cannot annihilate the caste system and caste is reinventing itself with modernity.Discuss. (10 marks)

CD Test Q.Caste in its old form is irrelevant and cannot exist in the modern or contemporary Indian society. Comment(15)

Similar question in the past

“Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, the caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment. (2018 upsc mains)

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: Caste has myriad forms in India. It’s existence till now proves its roots in the Indian culture. However the recent trends show a different result, where leaving the core characteristics, many features of caste are getting diluted.


How the caste features are getting diluted

  • Inter-caste marriages- a new normal
  • Inter-dining with any caste
  • Job opportunities- fading up the differentiation
  • The rituals and customs being universalised
  • Urbanisation- loosening the caste fabric
  • Globalisation
  • Industrialisation
  • Rise of middle class
  • Law
  • Coalition Politics

Caste- still holds lots of importance

  • Patriarchy
  • Tribe
  • Occupation based discrimination
  • Vote bank politics

Q9. COVID-19 pandemic accelerated class inequalities and poverty in India. Comment.

CD TEST Q. The National Commission for Women has reported a surge in domestic violence and cybercrimes, which has made girls and women more vulnerable as they struggle to fight another pandemic of violence and abuse inside their homes and online. Discuss the reasons behind it and suggest solutions to end these menace in society. (10 marks)

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Approach to Answer:

  • Give some data and figures about the migrants, economic slowdown etc.
  • Accelerated class inequality and poverty:
    • Online classes to students- haves and have-nots
    • Violence against women and vulnerable classes
    • Issues related to migrant population
    • Unemployment
    • Minorities have been hit harder and are recovering more slowly from the downturn.
    • higher-paid workers are working from home while lower-paid blue-collar workers typically do not have this option.
    • lower paid workers are more represented in the sectors that have suspended activities such as hotels, restaurants and tourism services.
    • Ethnic inequalities on the rise
    • Doctors and law functionaries facing the brunt more than any other working professionals.
  • However the other side of the coin is
    • Environment related inequality reduced
    • Everyone locked- hence rules are equally followed
    • The migrants from foreign countries are facing equal.
  • Give way forward

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Q10. Do you agree that regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness? Argue.

CD TEST Q. Regionalism in India is a phenomenon which is coming into picture every now and then due to several factors. Illustrate with examples the factors responsible for growing assertion of regionalism in India. Also discuss the steps needed to cater the challenges associated with regionalism.

CD TEST Q. Do you think regionalism in its contemporary form which is more competitive than divisive will usher a new era of prosperity in India. Critically examine (15 marks)

Why this question?

What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that unequal distribution of benefits of development on a regional basis eventually promotes regionalism? Substantiate your answer. (2016 upsc mains)

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: start by defining regionalism. Also mention that factors that you think are promoting it in recent times.


Regionalism- consequence of rising cultural assertiveness

  • Cultural assertiveness reflects beliefs as to whether people are or should be encouraged to be assertive, aggressive, and tough or non-assertive, non-aggressive, and tender in social relationships.
  • Fear of minorities about dilution of their cultural ideologies
  • Tribal population- seeing their culture endangered, they are going for regionalistic tendencies to save it
  • Sometimes vast differences in the way of living, cuisines, language etc lead to such demands

Not always the case

  • Regional politics dominating such demands
  • Developmental disparities
  • Power assertion from some classes
  • The North-South divide


With the New-India, new challenges are appearing on each front but unity is still holding importance because of the tolerance and path of peace being followed at large in India.

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Q11. Indian Philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss.

CD TEST Q. ‘India has always excelled in religious philosophies, but these philosophies not only always dealt with spiritual affairs, but also with social problems.’ Taking into account the given statement, evaluate the contribution of Buddhism to contemporary society. How far do you agree that these ideologies are capable enough in solving the problems of present day society?

Approach to Answer:

Introduction : Naming some of the famous philosophies based on which famous monuments are being built.


  • discuss each philosophy like Buddhism, Jainism, hinduism- their thoughts and monuments built.
  • Khajuraho, Ajanta-Ellora, Konark Sun temples are some famous examples
  • Similarly Islam and its phlosophy and culture- being depicted in their monuments
  • Temple architecture- not only a place for worshipping but also played role in trade and commerce; symbol of power etc
  • Folk culture and arts based on them- mithila arts, fresco etc

Q12. Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment.

CD TEST Q. . How did the architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period reflect contemporary socio-politico-economic realities? (15 marks)

CD TEST Q. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Greek and Roman travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India.

Approach to Answer:

Similar Question asked in 2018 mains

Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of IndiaIndia has,for long history, witnessed visits from a large number of travelers across the world. Ancient Greek and Roman travellers, diplomats and historians were the first to write about India from their knowledge and information. All these foreign accounts prove useful for writing history.

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CD TEST Q. During medieval India, the writings of authors revealed a holistic picture of the society at that period of time. In this context, discuss the economic, social and cultural aspects that can be outlined from the writings of Ibn Batuta and Bernier.

Approach to Answer:

While the question looks straight forward but you have to deal with the specific time period of Batuta and Bernier. Only if you have an insight of the situations during the 13th and 17th century.

You have to deal with societal elements like women, slaves, city life , rural life etc in detail.

Introduction: Start the answer by mentioning the importance of literary accounts in writing history of medieval India. After that, discuss the important persian works which deal with Medieval Indian history.


  • Persian learned men wrote Tawarikh. These were histories which are valuable sources of information about medieval India. These were written in persian which was the language of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Travellers such Ibn Battuta and Al Beruni wrote Rihlah and Kitab ul Hind respectively.
  • Then further there were biographies written in the era of Mughals such as Ain i Akbari, Tuzuk e babari.
  • Some of the prominent poets and writers of Persian who adorned his court were Khawaja Abu Nasr (whose pen name was Nasiri), Abu Bakr bin Muhammad Ruhani of Samarqand, Taj-ud-Dabir and Nur- ud-Din Muhammad Awfi.
  • these sources have commented upon the social structure, political institutions, religion, comparative analysis between India and Persian territories, the economy of the period.
  • For example, Ain e Akbari delves on the topic of religion, status of women, powers of Monarch, policies by administration and specific views of Akbar on harmony such as Sulh e Kul.

Conclusion: the persian sources of medieval history hold prominence because they provide a good deal of insight and knowledge about the conditions of those times-art and architecture, history and literature, agriculture and industry, commerce and trade, culture and civilization, philosophy and religion etc.

Q.13 Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss.

Approach to Answer:

  • Coming of Gandhiji into the scene
  • Satyagraha, non-cooperation, civil disobedience
  • Socialist and Communist strands
  • Dream of complete swaraj and no dominion
  • Some communal bent also could be seen
  • After 1919 the struggle against British rule gradually
  • became a mass movement, involving peasants, tribals, students and women in large numbers and occasional factory workers as well.
  • The First World War altered the economic and political situation in India. It led to a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India.

Q14. The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine.

CD TEST Q. The stark differences in water availability in the river basins in the country has thrown up the idea of interlinking of rivers. However, River Linking Project involves multifaceted issues and challenges related to environmental, economic, ecological, legal, political and social costs. Discuss.

Approach to Answer:

  • Start with some major river interlinking projects
  • Use map
  • Taking example of different states and the associated importance of interlinking of rivers could be given

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Q15. Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures.

CD TEST Q. The flooding in Hyderabad was a crisis in making. Elaborate with possible solutions with the recommendations of the national flood commission of 1976.

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: start by defining the concept of urban flooding. Also add how while this was initially seen only in cities like Mumbai and Delhi now the scourge has been extended to smart cities like Hyderabad and Pune.

Body: mention the causes of urban flooding in india.

  • Cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai rely on a century-old drainage system, covering only a small part of the core city. In the last 20 years, the Indian cities have grown manifold with its original built-up area. As the city grew beyond its original limits, not much was done to address the absence of adequate drainage systems.
  • Lasting irreversible damage has been done to the city by property builders, property owners, and public agencies by flattening terrain and altering natural drainage routes.
  • Indian cities are becoming increasingly impervious to water, not just because of increasing built up but also because of the nature of materials used (hard, non-porous construction material that makes the soil impervious).
  • Even with provisions of rainwater harvesting, sustainable urban drainage systems, etc, in regulatory mechanisms like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), adoption at user end as well as enforcement agencies remains weak.
  • The number of wetlands has reduced to 123 in 2018 from 644 in 1956. Green cover is only 9 per cent, which ideally should have been at least 33 per cent.

Remedial measure:

  • Floods cannot be managed without concerted and focused investments of energy and resources. The Metropolitan Development Authorities, NDMA, State revenue and irrigation departments along with municipal corporations should be involved in such work together.
  • Developing Sponge Cities: The idea of a sponge city is to make cities more permeable so as to hold and use the water which falls upon it. This allows for the extraction of water from the ground through urban or peri-urban wells.
  • Wetland Policy: There is a need to start paying attention to the management of wetlands by involving local communities.
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design: These methods take into consideration the topography, types of surfaces (permeable or impervious), natural drainage and leave very less impact on the environment.

Conclusion: Urban Flood management will not just help control recurring floods but also respond to other fault lines, provide for water security, more green spaces, and will make the city resilient and sustainable.

Q16. India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its developments. Elaborate.

CD TEST Q. Solar energy is being considered as mankind’s saviour in the era of climate change. Critically analyse India’s solar energy development plan.

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: talk in brief about solar energy and its benefits


  • India in a big step forward aimed at 100 GW of installed solar power capacity by 2022, and this seemed impossible at the time given that the entire country had under 3 GW of existing installations. Yet, the ambitious target set clearly signalled the government’s intent to make solar energy an integral part of Indian energy security strategy.
  • India has managed to hit about 35 GW in installed capacity till now. One major gap is rooftop solar, which has not progressed much. So while adding 65 GW of solar capacity in two years looks tough, opening up the rooftop solar market nationwide can help push the envelope.
  • About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day.
  • The National Institute of Solar Energy has assessed the Country’s solar potential of about 748 GW assuming 3% of the wasteland area to be covered by Solar PV modules.

Regional disparity: Karnataka which tops the list of states with the highest installed solar power generation capacity had 5,328 megawatt (MW) capacity, while Telangana houses the second-highest installed solar power generation capacity in the country followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

A map or a diagram may be used for representing the state wise and region wise situation in the country.

Conclusion: India needs to show leadership at global level to advance the manufacture and absorption of solar photovoltaic infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries.  it needs to come up with integrated policies fully supported by states where industry gets help to set up facilities and avail low cost financing 

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India should also be able to invest in intellectual property. A decentralised approach will be suited for Indian landscape and there has to be greater use of residential and commercial buildings to deploy more panels.

Q17. Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change.

CD TEST Q. Examine the significance of urban forestry in reducing frequency and intensity of natural disasters in Indian cities. (10 marks)

Approach to Answer:

Introduction: state the importance of forests and then talk about forests in India in brief.

Body: taking data from the state of the forests report 2019, describe the situation of forest resources in India.

  • The country’s forest cover includes all patches of land with a tree canopy density of more than 10% and more than 1 hectare in area, irrespective of land use, ownership and species of trees.
  • The total forest cover of the country is 7,12,249 sq km which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country.
  • Total forest cover in the North Eastern region is 1,70,541 sq km, which is 65.05% of its geographical area. There has been a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45%) in the region. Except Assam and Tripura, all the States in the region show decrease in forest cover.
  • Briefly mention the National Forest Policy of India, 1988 and that it envisages a goal of achieving 33% of the geographical area of the country under forest and tree cover and how India is short of achieving the target.

Resultant impact: describe how it impacts global climate, on hydrology and soil, on biological diversity and economic and social welfare etc.

Conclusion: Forest conservation involves the upkeep of the natural resources within a forest that are beneficial to both humans and the environment. Forests are vital for human life because they provide a diverse range of resources. But now-a-days, forest cover is depleting rapidly due to many reasons such as an expansion of agriculture, timber plantation, other land uses like pulp and paper plantations, urbanization, construction of roads, industries, constitutes the biggest and severe threat to the forest causing serious environmental damage. Thus, there is a need for public awareness.

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Q18. Is diversity and pluralism in India under threat due to globalisation? Justify your answer.

CD TEST Q. The diversity of India apart from being a source of strength has also created challenges to the growth of the country. Critically comment.

Approach to Answer:


Link diversity pluralism and globalisation in two three lines.


Globalisation- threatening the diversity and pluralism

  • McDonaldization of culture and food habits
  • Western philosophies- like live-in relations, contractual marriages etc
  • Individualistic tendencies taking over the community decisions
  • Laws getting more based on individual rights rather than cultural views
  • Festivals getting new taste rather than being dependent on rituals and customs

Not threatening

  • Still the cultural roots in villages are being preserved- not affected by globalisation
  • Indians are western by mind but Indian by heart
  • Politics and religion go hand in hand in contrast to Negative Secularisation in West
  • Emphasis on Atma-Nirbhar bharat- leading to more indigenisation in economy- which means saving Indian taste and culture
  • Even environmentalism and climate change issues are more inter-linked to the customs and traditions in India rather than just commercial needs. Eg: sacred groves

Q19. Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?

Approach to Answer:

  • Start with a positive note about how customs and traditions are a part and parcel for India from a very long period of time making it a place of diversity and a country being looked upon for its uniqueness.
  • Take a stand whether for or against. More bent should be on the side to be taken by you.
  • Agree:
    • Hindu tradition of burning the dead bodies and Islamic tradition of burying it have their unique philosophy
    • Some of the customs and traditions though are very old, but still followed with rational ideas of peace and spirituality. Eg: kalpavas in kumbh
  • Limitations:
    • Blind faith in customs is superstition and do lead to obscurantism
    • Such andha-bhakti by some anti-social elements is creating havoc like Mob-Lynching
    • The cults are making their way into the Indian society and many a times disturb the social fabric of the culture by misinformations.
  • Balance the answer taking into consideration the limitations
  • Many customs and Traditions have been reformed over the past 100 years but still Conclude again on positive note

Q20. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer.

CD TEST Q. Covid-19 pandemic forced many educational institute to explore the online more of education. And this also brought to the fore the potential of the online mode of education. In light of this, examine the issues with substituting the online mode of education for the traditional educational mode.

CD TEST Q. Digitising India could accelerate its progress towards development but there are certain factors which must be addressed before India could reap benefits of digitising. Examine such factors and suggest the ways to deal with the issues in digitising the country. (10)

Approach to Answer:

  • Start with the Covid pandemic and the digital penetration in Indian education system
  • Give various examples and advantages of Digital base- online education in schools, edutech startups, innovative ways for teaching complex concepts and so on
  • Limitations
  • Way forward

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UPSC Mains 2020 GS Paper 1: Question wise analysis - Civilsdaily (1)


What should I study for GS Paper 1? ›

UPSC GS 1 Study Material and Books
  • A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum)
  • Part I, II, and III of Themes in Indian History (NCERTs)
  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma.
  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra.
  • Ancient India History Notes.
  • Medieval India History Notes.
  • Modern India History Notes.
25 Aug 2022

Which paper is most scoring in UPSC mains? ›

Most of the aspirants choose Geography as their optional subject because it is noticed that it is the highest-scoring option in UPSC and most popular among the candidates.

How many questions are there in GS Paper 1 Mains UPSC? ›

Total Marks: 250 marks, Time duration: 3 hours. There are 20 questions printed both in ENGLISH and HINDI. All questions are compulsory. The number of marks carried by a question/part is printed against it.

How can I get good marks in GS? ›

Use the internet extensively, especially for topics like Science and Tech. Your target must be to gain knowledge, be it through books or through the internet. For all subjects, you have to superimpose current affairs over it, especially for GS-2 and GS-3. For both these papers, current affairs form the nucleus.

How do you score a GS 1? ›

Try to complete all questions as you will have to answer nearly 79–80 questions in all GS papers of different weightage (some of 10, 15 or 25 marks) and even 5 marks average in each question is sufficient to take your score to 400.

How do you cover a GS 1 paper? ›

There are many topics and subtopics in the GS-1 syllabus.
Important points:
  1. Do not read many books. Keep one source and read it many times.
  2. Make brief notes on the subtopics. Keep revising and updating them.
  3. Current affairs develop your analytical skills.
  4. Devote fixed time to answer writing.
3 Oct 2020

Which is easiest GS paper? ›

UPSC Mains GS II Toppers Marks Analysis

From the analysis, we can say that students should target scoring at least 120 marks in the UPSC GS 2 paper. As GS 2 is considered easier than other GS papers, students should try to score as high as possible.

Who got highest marks in GS Paper 1? ›

Kanishak Kataria

Which GS paper is more scoring? ›

1. Highest weightage in GS 1 paper was given to Geography, with questions on World, Indian and Economic geography. 2.

Which subject has more weightage in UPSC mains? ›

Many questions had a current perspective and required analytical thinking. Polity and governance had maximum weightage with 11 questions, 4 questions were from International Relations and the number of Social Justice and Welfare based questions were 5.

What is the Time gap between UPSC mains and interview? ›

Generally, there will be a 3-month gap between the UPSC prelims and mains exam i.e., around 120 to 150 days to prepare for mains within which candidates have to study for 9 papers with a total of 1750 marks.
9 Things you should know to crack UPSC Mains Exam.
IAS General Studies Notes Links
Extradition MeaningGovernment E Marketplace
Junaid Ahmad IASByzantine
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How many questions should we attempt in UPSC mains? ›

Candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all. Questions no. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, any THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE from each section. The number o f marks carried by a question/part is indicated against it.

Who scored highest in gs3 UPSC? ›

Kanishak Kataria has secured the first place by securing the marks of 1121 out of 2025 marks in total (55.36%).
IAS Toppers of 2018-19:
YearToppers NameObtained Marks Out of 2025
IAS Topper 2016Nandini KR(Marks obtained in Mains + Interview Round = 1120)
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Who got highest marks in UPSC ever? ›

Civil services exam topper Shruti Sharma scored 54.56% marks: UPSC.

How do I start mains answer writing practice? ›

You should approach the answer from 360 degrees and start writing. Use keywords: Always use keywords to highlight important and scoring points in your answers. Try to underline the keywords. Substantiate your answers: Don't forget to substantiate what you claim in your answers.

Are Vision IAS notes enough for UPSC? ›

So, printed material and Vision IAS classroom notes are sufficient to score.

How can I approach UPSC mains? ›

How to prepare for UPSC Mains?
  1. UPSC Mains Exam Preparation Strategy # 1: General Preparation Plan.
  2. UPSC Mains Exam Preparation Strategy # 2: Answer Writing Practice.
  3. UPSC Mains Exam Preparation Strategy # 3: Mains Syllabus that overlap with Prelims.
  4. UPSC Mains Exam Preparation Strategy # 5: Current Affairs Preparation.

Which ARC report is important for UPSC? ›

The 2nd ARC report is beneficial for IAS aspirants for UPSC Mains as it offers detailed information on public administration system and changes required.

Is laxmikant enough for mains? ›

UPSC Mains– The nature of the Mains exam is very different from that of the Prelims. For answering the questions of mains one must have a deeper understanding of the subject. For preparing the GS Paper -2 for the UPSC Exam M Laxmikant is essential but not sufficient.

Which is the toughest paper in UPSC? ›

On the first day of the examination, candidates termed the essay paper as the “toughest” with questions that were mostly “philosophical” or “abstract” in nature. The essay paper consists of two sections, and candidates have to attempt one out of four topics given in each section. Each essay carries 125 marks.

Which optional has smallest syllabus? ›

Philosophy has the shortest syllabus out of all of the optional subjects for the UPSC examination and is the reason for it is a popular choice amongst UPSC aspirants.

Who cleared UPSC in first attempt? ›

On average, candidates take more than 2 attempts to clear this exam. But every year, there are several candidates who clear the UPSC exam in their very first attempt.
IAS First Attempt Winners.
Tina Dabi12015
Artika Shukla42015
Renu Raj22014
Saketa Raja Musinipally142014
22 more rows

How many ranks will get IAS? ›

2018: The last Rank to get IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc
2 more rows
24 May 2022

Did Pradeep Singh took coaching? ›

After completing his graduation, Pradeep Singh IAS took coaching for the Staff selection commission. In 2015, he got selected through SSC and got his first job as an inspector in the Income Tax Department in Delhi. From 2015 to 2019 he served the department.

Do people fail in CSAT? ›

Deepika Reddy, director of Shikara IAS Academy, too agrees that several students fail in CSAT despite their good performance in Paper-I.

What is CSAT cutoff? ›

The total marks for the CSAT exam is 200, and there are 80 questions. Each question carries 2.5 marks. Candidates need to score at least 33% or at least 66 marks to qualify for this paper.

How much do you need to score to pass CSAT? ›

Ans. A candidate needs to score a minimum of 66 marks (33% of the total marks) in the CSAT paper for qualification.

Which optional has most overlap with GS? ›

Public administration

In this subject, a lot of topics find overlap in GS paper II like governance and constitution. Other subjects that find considerable overlap with general studies include sociology, law and philosophy (especially in the ethics paper).

Which is the most chosen optional subject in UPSC? ›

The IAS Topper Kanishak Kataria chose Mathematics as his optional subject in CSE 2018.
Popularity of UPSC Optional Subject – 2015-17.
Optional SubjectPublic Administration
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Which optional subject is easy for UPSC? ›

Which optional subject is easy in UPSC? Answer: Sociology, Geography, and Public Administration are easy subjects to score. Many candidates have scored more than 400 marks in these optional subjects as per the previous year's result.

Are questions repeated in UPSC mains? ›

Yes! UPSC papers have repetitions of questions from previous year's papers, but only for certain topics. As we have seen over the last ten years, frequent questions from subjects like that included history, economics, and history, as well as Indian politics, were noticed.

Which is hard prelims or mains? ›

The UPSC Mains exam is very tough as compared to the prelims. Consider these stages as a hierarchy which only increases the challenging intensity with every level.

Should I leave job for UPSC? ›

Pros of quitting your job for IAS preparation:

You will get more time to focus on your IAS preparation. Your attention will not be diverted to other things on the job. You can join a coaching class for your IAS preparation. Enroll for BYJU'S coaching classes for the best IAS coaching in the country.

How much should I score in UPSC mains? ›

UPSC Cutoff Score For Civil Services 2018
CategoryUPSC Prelims Cutoff Marks(out of 200)UPSC Mains Cutoff Score (Out of 1750 marks)
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How many questions should be correct to qualify prelims? ›

At present, the UPSC has made CSAT as only a qualifying paper for the General Studies I paper of the preliminary examination. In order to be on the safer side, the aspirants must at least solve 30+ questions correctly in the CSAT paper in order to pass.

How many marks does each question carry in UPSC mains? ›

Every question in paper I is of 2 marks. So, the question paper is a total of 200 marks. Every question in the Civil Service Aptitude Test carries 2.5 marks. So, the question paper is a total of 200 marks.

Why is UPSC so tough? ›

Why is the IAS Exam considered tough? A lot of people consider the IAS exam to be the toughest exam in India. This is because of the very low pass percentage here. Also, there is a huge syllabus (check the UPSC syllabus in the link) to be covered not to mention the variety of topics one has to learn for it.

In which year srushti Deshmukh become IAS? ›

“This was my childhood dream.” Out of the 759 candidates who qualified the UPSC civil services exam 2018, 182 are women. And, the topper among the women candidates is Srushti Jayant Deshmukh, who in her very first attempt secured an amazing all-India rank of 5.

Who is the youngest IAS officer in India? ›

Ansar Shaikh The Youngest IAS Officer Of India At The Age Of 21 years.

Who got lowest marks in UPSC? ›

This year, among the top 10 rank holders, rank one Subham Kumar has been awarded the lowest mark in the interview. Kumar comes from Kushwaha community of Bihar, which is enlisted in the OBC category. But the final list of the selected candidates does not mention the category.

What is the age of Apala Mishra? ›

Age. Apala Mishra was born in the Uttar Pradesh district of Ghaziabad in 1997, and as of 2021, she is 24 years old.

Who got rank 1 in IAS? ›

One in a million. Shruti Sharma secured All India Rank 1 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021 applied by more than 10 lakh candidates. Interestingly, all the top three ranks in UPSC CSE 2021 are bagged by women candidates. Shruti Sharma was followed by Ankita Agarwal who secured AIR 2.

When should I start mains answer writing? ›

The first rule to remember is that you should not wait till you finish the whole UPSC syllabus to embark on an answer writing spree. You should start it simultaneously while covering the syllabus.

How many pages should a UPSC essay be? ›

A general thumb rule which can be helpful in the exam hall is that – if the question has a 150-word limit, then the answer should be written within 1 and a half A4 pages. If it's 250, then write the answer not going beyond 2.5 A4 pages.

Where can I get my UPSC answers evaluated? ›

You can submit your answers directly on our website ConvertIAS provides you with your personalized dashboard on which you can track your answer submissions and evaluation statuses.

How can I study gs1 for UPSC Quora? ›

  1. GS-1 includes wide range of topics. ...
  2. Read basic books along with NCERTs for this papers.
  3. Follow THE HINDU newspaper's articles related to Indian culture, geography, heritage.
  4. You should get access to past 5 to 7 years question papers. ...
  5. Habits of reading & writing keep in mind always.

Will CSAT marks be counted? ›

Will CSAT marks be counted? CSAT marks are not counted towards the merit ranking of UPSC candidates. However, candidates need to score at least 33% in this paper for the General Awareness paper to be counted towards clearing UPSC Prelims.

Which optional subject is best for UPSC? ›

Top 10 Optional Subjects for UPSC IAS Exam
  • Sociology.
  • Geography.
  • Literature Subject (Any)
  • Anthropology.
  • Agriculture.
  • Medical Science.
  • Public Administration.
  • Psychology.
4 Aug 2022

What are some of the important things one should keep in mind while preparing for the UPSC mains general studies? ›

  • Step 1: Be Consistent With Your Preparation. ...
  • Step 2: Sufficient Time Allocation. ...
  • Step 3: Choose Your Optional Subject Wisely. ...
  • Step 4: Make Proper Study Plan. ...
  • Step 5: Follow Daily Current Affairs To Keep Yourself Updated.

Is vision IAS history notes enough for UPSC? ›

So, printed material and Vision IAS classroom notes are sufficient to score. But keep updating your notes through Newspaper so that your notes are not outdated. Hope it helps.

What do you read for society? ›

Booklist for Social Justice & Indian Society UPSC Preparation
  • NCERT Class 11 – Introducing Sociology.
  • NCERT Class 11 – Understanding Society.
  • NCERT Class 12 – Indian Society.
  • NCERT Class 12 – Social Change & Development in India.
  • Social Problems in India by Ram Ahuja.
  • The Hindu or The Indian Express.

How can I cover geography for UPSC mains? ›

How to prepare geography syllabus for UPSC
  1. Read NCERTs: Start out by covering GeographyNCERTs from class VIII to XII. ...
  2. Basic books: Next, thoroughly study the basic books of geography, which includes Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong and Geography of India by Majid Husain.

What is the minimum marks to qualify in UPSC Prelims? ›

The expected UPSC Cut Off For Prelims this year is 90-95 marks. The cut-off marks for UPSC Prelims 2021 are out and for the General Category candidates the cut-off came out to be 87.54.

What is the minimum marks in UPSC interview? ›

There is no minimum mark in the UPSC interview. Mostly, the marks awarded for the interview ranges from 40% to 80%. The candidates who score a little less in the main examination written part can make it to the final list if he/she scores well in the interview.

How UPSC cut off is calculated? ›

The merit list is prepared according to the number of vacancies in every category for a particular year. For example, if there are 300 vacancies for OBC category in a year, the mark of the last candidate in the OBC list (of 300) would be the cut-off for that category.

Will UPSC remove optional? ›

Is Optional Subject removed from UPSC? No, the Optional Subjects are still a part of the UPSC Mains exam.

Which optional has smallest syllabus? ›

Philosophy has the shortest syllabus out of all of the optional subjects for the UPSC examination and is the reason for it is a popular choice amongst UPSC aspirants.

Which optional has highest success rate? ›

UPSC Optional Subjects Success Rate 2016
No.Optional SubjectSuccess Rate
2Medical science16.3
3Animal husbandry12.3
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3 Jul 2021

What is the 753 rule? ›

SEVEN – Candidates' should aim to answer questions within 7 minutes per question. FIVE – Write 5 points in their answers related to the keyword. It would be better to break down the answer into bulleted points. THREE – Elaborate each point in 3 dimensions as per the requirements listed in the question.

How can I practice mains answer at home? ›

Use keywords: Always use keywords to highlight important and scoring points in your answers. Try to underline the keywords. Substantiate your answers: Don't forget to substantiate what you claim in your answers. This will give legitimacy to your answers, not to mention, make you look well-read to the examiner.

Can I clear UPSC in 3 months? ›

UPSC IAS Prelims 3 Month Study Plan: UPSC IAS Prelims Examination is the first and toughest hurdle to clear in the entire UPSC Exam. As we know, the UPSC Civil Services Examination comprises three stages: Prelim, Mains, and Interview.
UPSC 2020 Prelims Trend Analysis.
SubjectNumber of Questions
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20 May 2022


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