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Increasing competition, decreasing vacancies | Is your preparation aligned with the expectations of UPSC?| Discuss with us. Fill Samanvaya.

Do you know what UPSC expects from an aspirant?

Fill Samanvaya form here to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session


UPSC has released its notification for CSE 2021 with 712 vacancies.

Year2015201620172018201920202021
Vacancies11291079980782896796712

Lesser vacancies, an increasing number of aspirants, all necessitate preparation for a tougher competition. If you feel you’re at the crossroads this is for you.

The Prelims 2020 in many ways was a watershed moment for IAS aspirants. It shocked veterans and baffled the first-timers. If anything this paper has taught is that you need to adapt to the expectations of UPSC and adopt a new approach.

UPSC is changing. No more is it about isolating yourself and just doing current affairs, static, attending random classes, or reading a plethora of books. It’s time to bury the old ways for IAS preparation, for good.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
Abhishek has benefited from Civilsdaily’s approach, so did 70+ candidates who cleared UPSC IAS 2019

We’ve had a discussion with around 2700 IAS aspirants (beginners and veterans) last month and all of them had doubts related to either sources and books or answer writing and even essays and interviews.

Lack of direction, no guidance, inability to make required necessary changes in their preparation, and an absence of a well-defined strategy were issues common to all. What issues are you facing? Tell us.

Fill up the following details in Samanvaya form given below to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

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To borrow from the parable of ‘blind men and the elephant’ almost all of these aspirants were trying to make sense of UPSC but unable to look at the whole picture. You need to tackle that ‘elephant in the room’. Look at the holistic picture. First, understand what it stands for, what expectations do they have from you, then understand how to fulfill them, then plan and move forward.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020

Broadly, six factors determine your success in cracking this prestigious IAS exam and the most important being understanding the expectations of UPSC and according to that planning and strategizing; other being Learning – Knowledge and information; Analyzing – making linkages, connections, etc.; Executing and utilizing information; and Constant course correction – because mistakes are inevitable, need to rectify them asap.

But how to do that?

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Click here and fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021-22


How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Click here and fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021-22


Failing to tackle any one of them, feeds into a vicious cycle. Without guidance or mentoring, understanding where the problem lies in and how to rectify it becomes problematic.

This is where our 3 tier mentoring comes in:

1. First step starts with this Samanvaya call: Once you fill in the form, our senior mentors get on a 30-40 minute call with you to understand your prep level, working/ study constraints, current strategies, and create a step by step plan for next week, next month and so on.

2. You are given access to our invite-only chat platform, Habitat where you can ask your daily doubts, discuss your test-prep questions and have real-time, live sessions on news and op-eds, and find your optional groups.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Daily target monitoring.

3. The third and the most personalized tier is the 1 on 1 mentor allotment who stays with you through the course of your UPSC preparation – always-on chat and on scheduled calls to help you assess, evaluate, and chart the next milestone of your IAS 2021/2022 journey.

Who are you?

  1. Working Junta? If you are preparing for IAS 2021/2022 and working simultaneously, we can help you strategize and decipher the IAS exam and design a timetable that fits right in your hectic schedule.
  2. First-time prep? If you are in the last year of college or thinking of dropping a year and preparing for IAS 2021/2022 full time, we’ll help you pick the right books and craft a practical & personal strategy.
  3. Have appeared before? and weren’t successful. We’ll help you identify your mistakes, rectify them for the necessary course correction. Let this be your final and successful attempt.

You just have to take 5 minutes out and fill this form: Samanvaya For IAS 2021/2022

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. Once done, we will call you within 24 hours or so.

Fill up the Samanvaya form given below to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Our rankers in 2019

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UPSC Notification for Civil Services 2021 and IFoS 2021 released | 712 vacancies in CSE. Download it here and discuss with us

Download the notification inside and fill Samanvaya form to discuss the strategy and approach you should be following.

Dear students, UPSC has just now released the notification for Civil Services Exam 2021 and Indian Forest Services 2021 Exam. You can download the notifications here (Link at the bottom)

Approximately 712 vacancies are going to be there for UPSC Civil Services and 110 for IFoS. The number for CSE has reduced when compared to 2020 (796 vacancies). Thus indicating a tougher competition.

The last date to apply for the UPSC CSE (Prelims) 2021 is 24th March, 6pm. The UPSC CSE Prelims 2021 will be conducted on June 27.

We’ll share a detailed analysis very soon. Till then fill the Samanvaya form to discuss your approach and strategy.

Gear up for UPSC prelims now. Fill Samanvaya form to discuss the issues with your preparation. A senior mentor from Civilsdaily will call you within 24 hours for a detailed in-depth discussion.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

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Civilsdaily’s Hall of Fame.

Download notification here:

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(IAS 2021-22) The perfect exam cracking pattern| Where are you facing an issue?| Samanvaya: free 1-to-1 mentorship

Have you included these six components in your preparation? Tell us where are you facing an issue. Fill Samanvaya form and discuss with us.


Hi students, the UPSC exam is one of the trickiest exams, and to be able to clear it you need to follow a pattern. It is not just about reading, learning, revising.

Broadly, six factors constituting an exam cracking pattern, determine your success in cracking this prestigious IAS exam:

1. Understanding the expectations of UPSC is the most important of them all. Since UPSC is changing the pattern and the way they ask questions you need to adapt to it as well. Just knowing the syllabus and sources is not enough. Neither is it about finishing the syllabus only. It has to be done in a certain manner. Only when you know what UPSC wants you can make an effort in that direction. Fill Samanvaya form below to discuss the expectations of UPSC and more.

Integrate them in your preparation. We’ll tell you how to do it

2. Planning and Strategizing: This is one of the biggest problems faced by aspirants. Internet and youtube are flooded with IAS toppers’ strategy. While it worked for the toppers, what will work for you is a strategy that is based on your situation (UPSC experience, education, background, etc.), your learning style, the time you have, consideration for your job commitments, etc.

In short, your strategy has to be unique. Just for you. Moreover, it has to be organic and adaptable. Else it won’t work. Let us help make one for you or improve your strategy. (Just fill in the Samanvaya form)

3. Learning – There is no way out to studying and learning. You have to cover the syllabus of both static and optional. Along with this, you have to keep yourself up to date with current affairs. Finding and following one or a credible source is a tricky task especially with a number of resources available both in the market and online.

It becomes essential that you are picking up the right study material/books.

Tell us where are you facing an issue. Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. A senior mentor from Civilsdaily will call you within 24 hours for a detailed in-depth discussion.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

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4. Analyzing – While most of the aspirants focus only on learning things, it is this aspect that is essential for UPSC exam. UPSC is not going to ask questions directly (not many times). You need to have an ability to connect, interlink various topics and analyze deeply various aspects of an issue.

Until and unless you hone your skills in this area you are just doing a leisurely read of the syllabus.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
Abhishek has benefited from Civilsdaily’s approach, so did 70+ candidates who cleared UPSC IAS 2019

5. Executing and utilizing information– The most ignored areas in UPSC preparation. We must understand that whatever we are learning and analysing in the course of UPSC preparation has a purpose, that is to score more marks in the UPSC exam. Only this is going to get you selected.

Regular tests, for both prelims and mains, daily answer writing, making notes must be followed. Instead of just doing it randomly, you need to develop a process for them. It is not just about taking tests and writing daily answers, if you are not learning the execution part as per the demands of the UPSC it won’t give you good results.

Civilsdaily’s Hall of Fame.

6. Constant course correction – In your preparation, you are going to deviate from the path of effective preparation many times. Mistakes are inevitable. An aspirants (even 3-4th attempt) is going to make a lot of mistakes. What you need is to get back to it on the right path as soon as possible. You need to have a self-awareness about your preparation and then make necessary changes as per them.

These are the six areas that make a perfect exam cracking pattern that you need to follow. Tell us where are you facing an issue. Fill the Samanvaya for m to discuss those issues with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We will call you within 24 hours.

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(IAS 2021-22) Are you preparing in the right direction?| Let us optimize your preparation |Samanvaya: free 1-to-1 mentorship

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. We’ll call you within 24 hours for a detailed in-depth discussion.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

Field will not be visible to web visitor

IAS exam, by design, is such that it should take just one attempt to clear it. Any further attempt, if you’re taking, should only be to improve your rank.

More than 10.5 lakh applied, but only 796 are going to clear UPSC IAS 2020. It is going to be much more challenging in 2021 and 2022.

But why most of the aspirants can’t clear the exam, even after taking multiple attempts, covering the full syllabus, or taking tests?

Last month we had a discussion with around 2500 students who were not able to clear prelims even after more than 2 attempts. Many were stuck on mains.

Lack of direction, no guidance, inability to make required necessary changes in their preparation, and an absence of a well-defined strategy were issues common to all. (What issues are you facing? tell us)

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
Abhishek has benefited from Civilsdaily’s approach, so did 70+ candidates who cleared UPSC IAS 2019

UPSC IAS preparation is not just about memorizing and information gathering.

Did you have a look at Prelims 2020 paper? In many ways, it has highlighted the changing nature of UPSC, and to be successful you need to adapt to the expectations of UPSC and adopt a new approach.

Civilsdaily’s Hall of Fame.

For 2021 aspirants, your preparation should be highly outcome-oriented (enabling you to fetch more marks). Every action of yours must be very objectively defined, every step as a part of your strategy. Whatever you are learning must be utilizable in the exam (both pre and mains). Your preparation should have an element of measurability.

Moreover, you need to balance both Prelims and Mains on one hand and current-static-optional on the other. Fill Samanvaya form to know how it should be done.

It’s about how ‘you’ should be doing it instead of how someone else did it. That is the ‘elephant in the room’.

All this stands true for 2022 aspirants as well. This is the right time to start preparation.

Fill Samanvaya form given at the bottom of this post.

Broadly, six factors determine your success in cracking this prestigious IAS exam and the most important being understanding the expectations of UPSC and according to that planning and strategizing; other being, Learning – Knowledge and information; Analyzing – making linkages, connections, etc.; Executing and utilizing information; and Constant course correction – because mistakes are inevitable, need to rectify them asap.

These are the areas where most of the aspirants fail to create a balance. Where are you facing an issue?

Integrate them in your preparation. We’ll tell you how to do it

To address the problems in your preparation, guidance and mentorship are the first steps. And here comes our three tiered mentorship.

Our 3 tier mentoring:

1. First step starts with this Samanvaya call: Once you fill in the form, our senior mentors will have a 1-to-1 detailed discussion (on-call) with you to understand your prep level, working/ study constraints, current strategies, and create a step by step plan for next week, next month and so on.

2. You are given access to our invite-only chat platform, Habitat where you can connect with mentors, ask your daily doubts, discuss your test-prep questions and have real-time live sessions on news and op-eds, and find your optional groups.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Daily target monitoring.

3. The third and the most personalized tier is the dedicated 1 on 1 mentor allotment who stays with you through the course of your UPSC preparation – always-on chat and on scheduled calls to help you assess, evaluate, and chart the next milestone of your IAS 2021/2022 journey.

Daily target monitoring on Habitat

Who are you?

  1. Working Junta? If you are preparing for IAS 2021/2022 and working simultaneously, we can help you strategize and decipher the IAS exam and design a timetable that fits right in your hectic schedule.
  2. First-time prep? If you are in the last year of college or thinking of dropping a year and preparing for IAS 2021/2022 full time, we’ll help you pick the right books and craft a practical & personal strategy.
  3. Have appeared before? and weren’t successful. We’ll help you identify your mistakes, rectify them for the necessary course correction. Let this be your final and successful attempt.

You just have to take 5 minutes out and fill this form: Samanvaya For IAS 2021/2022

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. Once done, we will call you within 24 hours or so.

Fill up the following details in Samanvaya form given below to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

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5 deadly mistakes you must avoid in your UPSC IAS preparation | Fill Samanvaya for IAS 2021-22 and discuss with us.

There are some fundamental mistakes that many serious aspirants make. And no, we’re not talking about ignoring daily current affairs, not writing answers, or attempting tests.

Based on our interaction with 2500 aspirants in the past two months who have not been able to clear this exam after multiple attempts, there are five deadly mistakes for an UPSC aspirant.

1. Ignoring or failing to understand what UPSC expects from you.

UPSC through this exam has to maintain the merit in the Indian administration. For that, they are constantly evolving w.r.t. the exam process – questions and the manner in which they ask questions. Just go through the last three years’ UPSC Prelims question papers and you will realize it yourself.

Just knowing the syllabus and sources is not enough. Neither is it about finishing the syllabus only. It has to be done in a certain manner. Only when you know what UPSC wants you can make an effort in that direction. Fill Samanvaya form below to discuss the expectations of UPSC and more.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
Abhishek has benefited from Civilsdaily’s approach, so did 70+ candidates who cleared UPSC IAS 2019

2. Not having a workable strategy

Internet and youtube are flooded with IAS toppers’ strategy. While it worked for the toppers, what will work for you is a strategy that is based on your situation (UPSC experience, education, background, etc.), your learning style, the time you have, consideration for your job commitments, etc.

In short, your strategy has to be unique. Just for you. Moreover, it has to be organic and adaptable. Else it won’t work. Let us help make one for you or improve your strategy. (Just fill in the Samanvaya form)

3. No mechanism to identify your mistakes

Even if you’ve taken multiple attempts you are bound to make some mistakes, much more for UPSC beginners. These are inevitable. And this makes it essential for you to put up a mechanism to find out and highlight those mistakes in your preparation on a regular basis.

Eg. Finished Modern History (or any subject), only to realize after a month that you don’t seem to remember a thing or solve a UPSC level MCQ. This realization that you’re doing it wrong should have come to you on the first or second day itself. You could’ve saved your precious time, efforts and attempt.

Discussing your approach with mentors is one of them. Don’t have a mentor? Yes, you have one at Civilsdaily. Fill in this Samanvaya form.


Civilsdaily’s Samanvaya: free 1-to-1 mentorship session

Fill the Samanvaya form for a free on-call mentorship session. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

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4. Inability to rectify your mistakes

Maybe due to inertia or ignorance or fear of change, most of the aspirants are not able to rectify their mistakes.

Eg. Even after finishing Laxmikant for Polity a couple of times you can’t understand why you are scoring miserably low marks in Polity pre-mocks. Or, not able to improve your mains answers.

Only those who are able to rectify their mistakes on a frequent basis are able to clear this exam. What issues with your preparation you feel are difficult to resolve? Fill Samanvaya and let us help you resolve them.

5. Integrate these learnings in your preparation

After you have developed the awareness of the mistakes and what should be done, you must integrate it asap with your preparation. The required unlearning and re-learning must take on a regular basis.

Eg. You were scoring less in answer writing and realized that it was due to either missing out on the demand of the question or not giving examples to support your arguments. Don’t stall the process of improvement. Do it asap.

Instead of regressing or stopping, you should always be moving forward, closing the loops of progress, and returning to the most effective path.

Whatever be the stage of your IAS exam preparation, these mistakes must be avoided at all costs and nipped-in-the-bud.

More than 10.5 lakh applied, but only 796 are going to clear UPSC IAS 2020. It is going to be much more challenging in 2021 and 2022.

It is not just about walking. It is about walking in the right direction. If you don’t have these above issues sorted you are bound to make more mistakes.

Fill the Samanvaya form given above to discuss your strategy and issues that you are facing.

Civilsdaily’s Hall of Fame.

Why mentorship?

See, broadly six factors determine your success in cracking this prestigious IAS exam and the most important being understanding the expectations of UPSC and according to that planning and strategizing; other being, Learning – Knowledge and information; Analyzing – making linkages, connections, etc.; Executing and utilizing information; and Constant course correction – because mistakes are inevitable, need to rectify them asap.

These are the areas where most of the aspirants fail to create a balance. Where are you facing an issue?

Integrate them in your preparation. We’ll tell you how to do it

To address the problems in your preparation, guidance and mentorship are the first steps. And here comes our three tiered mentorship.

Our 3 tier mentoring:

1. First step starts with this Samanvaya call: Once you fill in the form, our senior mentors will have a 1-to-1 detailed discussion (on-call) with you to understand your prep level, working/ study constraints, current strategies, and create a step by step plan for next week, next month and so on.

2. You are given access to our invite-only chat platform, Habitat where you can connect with mentors, ask your daily doubts, discuss your test-prep questions and have real-time live sessions on news and op-eds, and find your optional groups.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Daily target monitoring.

3. The third and the most personalized tier is the dedicated 1 on 1 mentor allotment who stays with you through the course of your UPSC preparation – always-on chat and on scheduled calls to help you assess, evaluate, and chart the next milestone of your IAS 2021/2022 journey.

Daily target monitoring on Habitat

Who are you?

  1. Working Junta? If you are preparing for IAS 2021/2022 and working simultaneously, we can help you strategize and decipher the IAS exam and design a timetable that fits right in your hectic schedule.
  2. First-time prep? If you are in the last year of college or thinking of dropping a year and preparing for IAS 2021/2022 full time, we’ll help you pick the right books and craft a practical & personal strategy.
  3. Have appeared before? and weren’t successful. We’ll help you identify your mistakes, rectify them for the necessary course correction. Let this be your final and successful attempt.

You just have to take 5 minutes out and fill this form: Samanvaya For IAS 2021/2022

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. Once done, we will call you within 24 hours or so.

Fill up the following details in the Samanvaya form to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

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What does it take to clear UPSC IAS in one attempt?| Let us solve the issues with your preparation. Fill Samanvaya for IAS 2021-22 (Free 1-to-1 mentorship)

IAS exam, by design, is such that it should take just one attempt to clear it. Any further attempt, if you’re taking, should only be to improve your rank.

UPSC IAS preparation is not just about memorizing and information gathering. Neither is it about mindlessly picking up random NCERTs, standard books or spending 5 hours on the Hindu.

Last month we had a discussion with around 1900 students who were not able to clear prelims even after more than 2 attempts. Many were stuck on mains.

But why? Even after taking multiple attempts, covering the full syllabus, or taking tests?

Lack of direction, no guidance, inability to make required necessary changes in their preparation, and an absence of a well-defined strategy were issues common to all. What issues are you facing? Tell us.

Fill the Samanvaya form for a free on-call mentorship session. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

Field will not be visible to web visitor
How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
Abhishek has benefited from Civilsdaily’s approach, so did 70+ candidates who cleared UPSC IAS 2019

Did you pick up NCERT or a standard book and started reading it, mindlessly, without purpose or process? Is doing current taking you 4-5 hrs but still you aren’t able to make sense of it for the exam? Is UPSC preparation becoming unmanageable for you with a job?

More than 10.5 lakh applied, but only 796 are going to clear UPSC IAS 2020. It is going to be much more challenging in 2021 and 2022.

Just stop wherever you are. It is not just about walking. It is about walking in the right direction. Take a deep breath and answer this question – Do you have a strategy?

Fill the Samanvaya form given above to discuss your strategy and issues that you are facing.

Civilsdaily’s Hall of Fame.

For 2021 aspirants, your preparation should be highly outcome-oriented (enabling you to fetch more marks). Every action of yours must be very objectively defined, every step as a part of your strategy. Whatever you are learning must be utilizable in the exam (both pre and mains). Your preparation should have an element of measurability.

Moreover, you need to balance both Prelims and Mains on one hand and current-static-optional on the other. Fill Samanvaya form to know how it should be done.

It’s about how ‘you’ should be doing it instead of how someone else did it. That is the ‘elephant in the room’.

All this stands true for 2022 aspirants as well. This is the right time to start preparation.

Fill Samanvaya form given at the bottom of this post.

Broadly, six factors determine your success in cracking this prestigious IAS exam and the most important being understanding the expectations of UPSC and according to that planning and strategizing; other being, Learning – Knowledge and information; Analyzing – making linkages, connections, etc.; Executing and utilizing information; and Constant course correction – because mistakes are inevitable, need to rectify them asap.

These are the areas where most of the aspirants fail to create a balance. Where are you facing an issue?

Integrate them in your preparation. We’ll tell you how to do it

To address the problems in your preparation, guidance and mentorship are the first steps. And here comes our three tiered mentorship.

Our 3 tier mentoring:

1. First step starts with this Samanvaya call: Once you fill in the form, our senior mentors will have a 1-to-1 detailed discussion (on-call) with you to understand your prep level, working/ study constraints, current strategies, and create a step by step plan for next week, next month and so on.

2. You are given access to our invite-only chat platform, Habitat where you can connect with mentors, ask your daily doubts, discuss your test-prep questions and have real-time live sessions on news and op-eds, and find your optional groups.

How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Daily target monitoring.

3. The third and the most personalized tier is the dedicated 1 on 1 mentor allotment who stays with you through the course of your UPSC preparation – always-on chat and on scheduled calls to help you assess, evaluate, and chart the next milestone of your IAS 2021/2022 journey.

Daily target monitoring on Habitat

Who are you?

  1. Working Junta? If you are preparing for IAS 2021/2022 and working simultaneously, we can help you strategize and decipher the IAS exam and design a timetable that fits right in your hectic schedule.
  2. First-time prep? If you are in the last year of college or thinking of dropping a year and preparing for IAS 2021/2022 full time, we’ll help you pick the right books and craft a practical & personal strategy.
  3. Have appeared before? and weren’t successful. We’ll help you identify your mistakes, rectify them for the necessary course correction. Let this be your final and successful attempt.

You just have to take 5 minutes out and fill this form: Samanvaya For IAS 2021/2022

Talk to senior mentors from Civilsdaily: Fill Samanvaya form for IAS 2021 and IAS 2022. Once done, we will call you within 24 hours or so.

Fill up the following details in Samanvaya form given below to schedule a free one-on-one mentorship session with senior mentors from Civilsdaily. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

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UPSC 2020 Mains: Ethics – A detailed Analysis and Strategy by Sukanya ma’am | Fill Samanvaya for free on-call mentorship


Click here for Samachar Manthan – Current affairs program

Click here for Mains Essential Program- Mains Test Series


Ethics paper is one of the most important yet the most neglected paper in UPSC mains preparation. Your name in the final list depends a lot on how you perform in Ethics paper.

Watch Sukanya ma’am give you a detailed analysis of the Mains 2020 Ethics paper and suggest a strategy for 2021.

Sukanya ma’am has also explained the changing trend and discussed the strategy for UPSC Mains 2021.


Click here for a detailed questions-wise analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 1

Click here for a detailed questions-wise analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 2

Click here for a detailed questions-wise analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 3


Samanvaya: 1-to-1 mentorship for IAS 2021-22

UPSC IAS preparation is not just about memorizing and information gathering. Neither is it about mindlessly picking up random NCERTs, standard books or spending 5 hours on the Hindu.

Last month we had a discussion with around 1900 students who were not able to clear prelims even after more than 2 attempts. Many were stuck on mains.

But why? Even after taking multiple attempts, covering the full syllabus, or taking tests?

Lack of direction, no guidance, inability to make required necessary changes in their preparation, and an absence of a well-defined strategy were issues common to all. What issues are you facing? Tell us.

Fill the Samanvaya form for a free on-call mentorship session. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Civilsdaily Samanvaya 1-On-1 Mentorship Form

Field will not be visible to web visitor
How to prepare for upsc 2021? Strategy for upsc 2021?
Answer writing for 2020
Abhishek Saraf rank 8 Civilsdaily
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is toppersfeature-1024x512.jpg
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UPSC Mains 2020 GS Paper 2: Analysis and approach | 100% questions from Civilsdaily’s tests| Talk to us! Fill Samanvaya

Fill in the Samanvaya form to discuss the issues with your UPSC preparation. We’ll call you within 24 hours.

Click here for Samachar Manthan – Current affairs program

Click here for Mains Essential Program- Mains Test Series


We have provided a detailed question-wise analysis UPSC 2020 GS Paper 2. But before we start, here are some of our observations about the paper:

  1. Compared to 2019, the paper seems to be lengthy and more analytical. It required clarity of thoughts and an analytical mind to interpret questions.
    • How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer.
    • The strength sustenance of local institutions in India has shifted from their formative phase of ‘Functions, Functionaries and Funds’ to the contemporary stage of ‘Functionality’. Highlight the critical challenges faced by local institutions in terms of their functionality in recent times. 
  2. Some questions though appear straight forward but require a broader perspective and dimensionality.
    • Which steps are required for constitutionalization of a commission? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India? Give reasons. 
    • Judicial legislation is antithetical to the doctrine of separation of powers as envisaged in the Indian Constitution. In this context justify the filing of a large number of public interest petitions praying for issuing guidelines to executive authorities.
  3. Very specific questions, where students might find it difficult to attempt because of fewer data and facts:
    • ‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples.
    • The judicial systems in India and the UK seem to be converging as well as diverging in recent times. Highlight the key points of convergence and divergence between the two nations in terms of their judicial practices.

The weightage:

  • Polity and Constitution- 11 questions – Moderate to tough
  • Governance- 2 questions – Straightforward 
  • Social Justice- 4 questions – Easy to Moderate
  • International Relations- 3 questions – Straightforward

Our remarks

Overall the questions appeared to be very long but could be answered with ease if the students have-had followed the current affairs thoroughly. The static questions were also on the line previous year questions, so a basic understanding of topics would have made the paper manageable.

 Now let us see how aligned was our Samachar Manthan and Mains test series with UPSC Mains GS paper 2


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Question-wise analysis of UPSC 2020 GS Paper 2

 

Q1. “There is a need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices under the Representation of peoples Act”. Comment (Answer in 150 words)

Test series Question

Q.) On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the representation of people act, 1951? Also, mention the remedies available to such a person against his disqualification?

 

If we read the question carefully, the statement suggests a solution to politically corrupt practises under RPA. 

Now the question at hand has projected “simplification of procedure” as a solution, we should focus our approach on zeroing on suitable error/problem identification with the context in mind. 

And this should be followed with the justification/correctness of the solution mentioned in the problem. 

Approach: 

  • Start the answer by mentioning the Constitutional aspects related to Disqualifications of persons due to corrupt political practices
  • Point out the abusive loopholes and how these are not acting as a deterrent to stop corruption
  • Quote, examples like horse-trading, money and muscle power used during several supreme courts directed floor tests in the event of hung assemblies. 
  • Conclude answer by providing suggestions like 
    • Election Commission of India updating the list of corrupt practices and taking prompt corrective actions 
    • Fast-tracking the setting up of Special courts, 
    • Amending IPC and the RP Act ensuring proper disincentives are meted-out to those breaking the law with impunity. 

Q2. “Recent amendments to the Right to Information Act will have a profound impact on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission”. Discuss (Answer in 150 words)

Test series Question

Q1. Right to Information Act considered as one of the milestones in Indian democracy. In the context of real representation that RTI provided to the public authorities, examine, how far the recent amendments breach the actual contention of RTI Act?

Q2. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, called the sunshine legislation, certainly deserves an in-depth study and assessment for accelerating the flow of information to the public. Critically analyse the context of recent amendments made in the RTI Act. (15)

Autonomy and independence are the main pillars of the Right to Information Act any breach in these would defeat the very purpose of this otherwise honest attempt at legislation.  

Positioning GOI as the trustee and repository of the public information, the act had bestowed it with great responsibility. Hence understanding the relevance of RTI would be of great importance here. 

Approach: 

  • Introduce by talking about the relevance of RTI in bringing transparency and access to information about the system.
  • Critically discuss the features of the amended RTI Act:
    • Interference of the executive. 
    • Determination of salary
    • Deductions in salary
    • Term of Information Commissioners
  • What could be done to empower the Information Commission?
  • Conclude by successful examples of RTI and how it will enhance the confidence of people in Democratic setup.

Q3. How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series 

Q. Explain the difference between Competitive and Cooperative federalism. In the Indian context, what have been the hindrances in achieving competitive federalism. What should be the solution? 

 This question has tinkered with the oft-repeated comments made by our PM, in the context of NITI Ayog meetings, Disruptions in Rajya Sabha in addition to various forums for interstate and centre-state cooperation. As a developing country, there are many areas of convergence for states. 

As an example, handling of Nipah virus by the Central and Kerala health ministries were exemplary and helped us focus on the benefits of cooperation and co-learning within the federation.

Approach:

  • Introduction: what kind of federation does India have? 
  • Cooperation: GST, Model laws made by the parliament from the state list, Niti Ayog, giving states the freedom to decide on development projects like Sister cities, the SDG India Index and collaboration between states for Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) show how competitive-federalism complements cooperative-federalism.
  • Competition: Interstate water sharing issues, ease of doing business, environmental issues – like deciding the ecologically sensitive areas and so-on.
  • Confrontation: Farm laws, Abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, CAA, NIA Act 
  • Conclusion: Conclusion must include mention of points like Quasi Federal nature of India, vesting of powers to the centre only during extra-ordinary times with a successful mix of power-share, securing the nation’s interest.

Q4. The judicial systems in India and the UK seem to be converging as well as diverging in recent times. Highlight the key points of convergence and divergence between the two nations in terms of their judicial practices. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series

This topic was part of the third week of December discussions in our Samachar Manthan lecture

Being fact-dependent question one is supposed to follow the recent judicial developments in both the countries in the light of recent developments. 

Approach:

  • Start by introducing the UK judicial system in short.
  • Straightly mention the area of convergence and divergence separately.
  • Judiciary is independent and separate from the Government. 
  • It will facilitate the rule of law and will ensure checks and balances in the country. This doctrine is not followed in the United Kingdom.
  • Lord Chancellor who is the member of the House of Lords acts as the head of Judiciary.
  • The questionable factor is that in the absence of a written constitution, how can it deal with judicial independence. 
  • As the Parliament is considered authoritative and supreme, the constitutional principles are limited in scope
  • Conclude by telling the effectiveness of both the systems.

Q5. “Once a speaker, Always a speaker’! Do you think the practise should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India? (Answer in 150 words)

Test series Question

Q.) Discuss the controversies surrounding the office of the speaker in India. Suggest measures make the office of speaker impartial and independent. Should it be modelled on the lines of the office of British speaker? (15)

Following the Westminster model of parliamentary procedure, the Indian constitution chose the Speaker as the presiding officer and officer of highest authority in Lok Sabha having immense administrative and discretionary powers, which leads to the above question.

Indias first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru had said that in a parliamentary democracy, the Speaker represents the dignity and the freedom of the House and because the House represents the country, the speaker in a way becomes the symbol of the country’s freedom and liberty.

Approach: 

  • Introduction: describe the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha in short.
  • Issue:  Recently, the Speaker’s role has become a reason for conflict between the opposition and ruling parties for alleged partisanship. 
  • Role of the Speaker: Explain how Speaker plays a crucial role in issues such as money bill, maintaining the decorum in assembly, passing of critical motions like censure motion and no-confidence motion etc 
  • Problems with the current system: Explain how the current system of appointing the Speaker from the ruling party without any procedure is hampering its role and leads to the subjective interpretation of issues rather than objectivity needed in a parliamentary democracy.
  • In conclusion, suggestions should be made, about how this post can be made more impartial along-with the benefits of doing so.


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Q6. In order to enhance the prospects of social development, sound and adequate health care policies are needed particularly in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care. Discuss. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series question

Q. Discuss how marriage age and women’s health are linked with each other? Discuss the policy options that India should pursue to improve women’s health in India.

Q. The share of the elderly in the population is expected to increase to 20 percent of the population by 2050. Thus to ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the process of nation-building is an absolute necessity. Discuss (15 marks)

Given the interconnectedness of older people with mental health issues, it becomes even more important, for the policies to be responsive to the growing elderly and mentally sensitive population. 

Health policies made either by the centre or the states can have their efficacy be proven only after studying the impact it has created on the target disease and population. 

Data from a recent epidemiological study indicated an average of 20.5% mental health morbidity in older adults. Accordingly, it was found that, at present, 17.13 million older adults (total population, 83.58 million) are suffering from mental health problems in India. We may start our answer with such govt backed data.

Approach: 

  • Introduce by giving some data from the healthcare sector at present and its consequences.
  • Discuss why extra focus is required in Geriatric and Maternal healthcare
    • Bad health condition of mothers- affect child growth in the long run- contributing less to economic development 
    • About 90% of the elderly were from the unorganized sector, i.e., they have no regular source of income.
    • Elderly people suffer from dual medical problems, i.e., both communicable as well as non–communicable diseases. 
    • This is further compounded by the impairment of special sensory functions like vision and hearing.
  • Discuss various healthcare policies related to these two sectors that can be done
  • You can also mention some successful examples of states like KERALA as a concluding point.

Q7. “Institutional quality is a crucial driver of economic performance”. In this context suggest reforms in the Civil Service for strengthening democracy. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series Questions

Q) Despite being the pivot of Indian democracy, the civil services have performed rather poorly when it comes to administering the routine. Discuss. (10)

Although, the role of the state has been relegated to the background, restricting its interests to being a facilitator or regulator of growth parameters, yet its role in enabling a suitable environment, important for economic development and competition within cannot be overemphasised. 

And in this context, the main administrative pillars, Central and State civil services and their reforms become critical in ensuring transparency and thereby building trust and social capital again very important for robust economic performance. 

Approach:

  • Introduce by explaining the statement given. Give some data to authenticate your point.
  • Discuss the lacunas, requiring reforms like red-tapism, arm-chair attitude, “chalta hai” tendency, disconnect between civil servants and citizen, partisanship and so on.
  • Suggest reforms by quoting recommendations from ARC.
  • Conclude by giving some innovative solutions required in the civil services. You can also mention Mission Karmayogi.

Q8. “The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) has initiated e-Governance as an integral part of the government”. Discuss. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series question

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

Given the amount of churning that had happened over the last couple of years in the field of fourth industrial revolution especially with the meet at world economic, it was expected that UPSC would not be far from asking a question on this very relevant issue. 

The fourth industrial revolution is also about performance, quality and productivity as much as it is about the digital revolution and various positive externalities in governance/policies. Fact and data-driven one should follow the below mentioned approaches. 

Approach: 

  • Introduce by mentioning a linkage between 4th IR and its effect on increasing e-governance reach to all.
  • Discuss the pillars of 4th IR and how it has strengthened the e-governance in the country.
    • Use of blockchain in healthcare, supply chains, education etc.
    • Bringing transparency, affordability and accessibility
    • Use of drones- in agriculture, disaster management etc
  • Conclude by mentioning government initiatives using technology for the benefit of improving citizen services. 

Q9. Critically examine the role of WHO in providing global health security during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Answer in 150 words)

Test series Question

Q) The global institutional architecture of the 1940s cannot help humanity face the challenges of the 2020s. Discuss. (10)

Q) The WHO has been facing the credibility crisis for its response to the Covid-19. In such a difficult time for the agency, India has to lead the executive board of WHA. In light of this, suggest the policy approach that India should adopt at WHA. (250 words) (15)

After receiving severe global criticism for its alleged inefficiencies in containing the spread of COVID19 virus, the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of WHO, in response to grave public emergencies need to be re-assessed. 

Also, the importance of a global asset in the field of medical research and coordination, cannot be ignored. Further removing the administrative and diplomatic impediments in its study, R&D and dissemination of universally critical data. 

Approach:

  • Introduction in the answer must mention the instances of alleged mismanagement during the time of pandemic and USA’s conflict with the organisation. 
  • Give the efficient and well-managed role being played by WHO during the whole Pandemic. 
  • Also, point out the limitations and lacunas associated with the organisation. 
  •  Conclude by suggesting how to improve the role of WHO in the future years and also mention how effective it remained earlier. 

Q. 10 ‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples. (Answer in 150 words)

Our touch points.

Given the amount of effort invested by Prime Minister Modi and the Ministry of external affairs in establishing the connection with rich, influential and literate Indian diaspora, it becomes very important that their contributions as a strong, socio-economic and political entity outside the borders of India are credited. 

For example, information nuggets like-

  1. 1% of the US population is Indian diaspora, 
  2. that contributes to creating the second most influential lobby in US policy-making after Israel, 
  3. such a presentation helps in curating the answer. 

Approach:

  • Introduce by defining the diaspora of India along with data.
  • Decisive roles played by the Indian diaspora 
    • In elections 
    • In trade and commerce
    • Holding strong positions
    • Howdy Modi event
    • Indian diaspora is instrumental in public healthcare delivery in the EU.
  • Conclude by stating the impact of diaspora on strengthening relations with these countries.  


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Q11. Indian constitution exhibits centralising tendencies to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. Elucidate in the perspective of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897; The Disaster Management Act, 2005 and recently passed Farm Acts. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series question

Q. The Centre has more powers to raise the resources and states have more responsibilities. Examine how this dichotomy came under serious scrutiny in the context of Covid-19 pandemic. (10 marks)

 Despite “public health” being a state subject, the central government is the key actor in designing health policies and programmes. This has largely been due to greater spending ability and availability of better technical resources. 

For instance, to advise the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the government is assisted by the National Centre for Disease Control, National Health System Resources Centre and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

And this was equally applicable in the case of recent farm laws, that were passed by the Parliament as reformative agro-economic policies, enabling the farmers to sell their produce in the open market under the Prime- Ministers ambitious “Doubling Farmers Income by 2022” mission. 

Approach:

  • You can introduce by stating about the 7th Schedule of the Constitution- dealing with federalism.
  • Wrt to each of these Acts, explain how the centre in some cases is overreaching the state subjects.
  • Mention the Quasi Federal nature of Indian Government set up.
  • Suggest the way forward and the need for such tendencies.
  • Conclude by giving the positive impact of such interference.

Q.12 Judicial Legislation is antithetical to the doctrine of separation of powers as envisaged in the Indian Constitution. In this context justify the filing of a large number of public interest petitions praying for issuing guidelines to executive authorities. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series Question

Q. Can the increasing number of PILs (Public Interest Litigation) be construed due to the lack of proper Grievance Redressal Mechanism for the citizens within the executive domain? Discuss (15 marks)

Q. How far do you agree that the recent judgements pronounced by the supreme court of India borders on Judicial overreach. Elaborate with Examples

Q. The judiciary can play an important role in carrying forward the mission of deepening democracy and protecting social freedoms in India. Do you agree? Critically Comment.

As the question asks to “justify” the “filling of public interest petitions” it becomes important to understand the spaces created for judicial intervention in addition to appreciating judicial responsiveness. 

Judicial legislation is considered antithetical, following the dictum of separation of power, present and supported by the Indian constitution, but the favourable impact of a sizable number of judicial decrees or guidelines to executive authorities in response to several public interest petitions need to be appreciated like Vishakha guidelines for the safety of women at workplace. 

The Supreme Court has aptly responded to its constitutional responsibility under article 142 in directing the public authorities to find solutions in important social issues devoid of functional legislation. 

Approach:

  • Introduction: Briefly explain the separation of powers and the provisions of the Indian constitution related to it.
  • Need: why is the separation of power necessary? Also, cite examples from recent events that you think were in the domain of executive action but became a case of Judicial overreach.
  • Reason: Why do you think there has been a rise in the number of PILs and is it because the people are not satisfied with the inaction of the legislative on matters of public importance.
  • Conclusion:  in the interest of democratic governance, all the 3 organs of the state should discharge their obligations freely and independently, entrusted with intervention only where required in the larger interest of the citizens of India.

Q13. The strength sustenance of local institutions in India has shifted from their formative phase of ‘Functions, Functionaries and Funds’ to the contemporary stage of ‘Functionality’. Highlight the critical challenges faced by local institutions in terms of their functionality in recent times. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series Question

Q). “Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) are simultaneously a remarkable success and a staggering failure”. Critically analyze. (10 marks)

 Approach

  • Introduction: Explain how after their formation until recently, the local bodies were focused on the basic needs of an institution like funding, devolution of functions, and appointing of functionaries.
  • Functional problems faced: problems like political interference, the reluctance of state politicians to devolve many powers to the district level or below, structural deficiencies, lack of separate bureaucratic cadre etc.
  • The conclusion must mention the need for states to realise the importance of these bodies and the devolution of powers to build their capabilities.

Q14. Rajya Sabha has been transformed from a ‘useless Stepney tyre’ to the most useful supporting organ in the past few decades. Highlight the factors as well as the areas in which this transformation could be visible. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series Question

Q). How far do you agree with the view that Rajya Sabha is the safety valve of Indian Federalism? Given the above, critically examine the performance of Rajya Sabha since independence? (15 marks)

Q) How far do you agree with the view that Rajya Sabha has done nothing exceptional in the last 70 years except stalling work and therefore it should be abolished? (10 Marks)

 Earlier, what was seen as a weakness of Rajya Sabha i.e. its dilatory nature, has turned out to be its strength in recent times, especially in the current parliamentary format of numerically strong government at Centre and in Lok Sabha.

Credit must be given to the constitutional provisions supporting the cause of political, administrative and economic decentralisation with the help of constitutional institutions like finance commission, election commission and various other bodies.

Approach: 

  • The introduction must mention the importance of Rajya Sabha, its function and how in recent times, it has enhanced.
  • Factors responsible for the change: the rise of regional parties, requirement of informed opinion on issues, coalition governments etc.
  • Change visible: Citing examples from recent times, show how it has played a role in passing important legislation and opposing controversial ones. How it has played a role in ensuring government accountability etc.
  • Conclusion: focus on its role as a watchdog and that it must assert itself as a House of correction. Rajya sabha coming out of its image as a house of disruptions.

Q15. Which steps are required for constitutionalization of a commission? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India? Give reasons. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series

Q). Seeing the patriarchal nature of society the Indian Parliament came up with the legislation in the form of National Commission for Women to work for the betterment of the females. In such a context, critically analyse the effectiveness of NCW at present. Also, suggest measures to make it work effectively.

Constitutionalisation of several commissions has been mooted as a solution to better accountability vis-a-vis the term of references for their creation. 

But in hindsight, it must also be recognised that commissions like the national commission for women, national commission for scheduled caste and tribes have at times been called toothless or only have remained as advisory bodies. 

It must be appreciated, that the constitutional version of commissions increases the Parliamentary oversight in the realm of financial, administrative and policy-related initiatives.

Approach:

  • Introduction: explain constitutionalization and give its benefits.
  • Other constitutional bodies: Compare the working of various constitutional bodies and talk about their ineffectiveness and how these bodies just play an advisory role and lack any implementation of its recommendations.
  • Benefits of constitutionality: list benefits of being a constitutional body, like their reports, are mandatorily discussed in parliament, they have powers of civil courts and they can directly interact with the media without any hindrances. 
  • Conclusion: Suggest measures to turn NCW into an effective body and role it plays in the empowerment of women and how it serves the need of the time.

Q16. “The incidence and intensity of poverty are more important in determining poverty based on income alone”. In this context analyze the latest United Nations Multidimensional Poverty Index Report. (Answer in 250 words)

 Test series Question

Q). Multidimensional Poverty Index is a measure to assess acute poverty in multiple dimensions. In this respect, state how poverty is leading to a loss in Human development and thus making the population a liability than an asset. (15 marks)

Here in this question, the limitation of income-based methods for identifying poverty and its impact needs the highlight. 

Proper conceptual clarity concerning the multidimensional poverty index is also significant in addition to the report highlights vis-a-vis India. 

Conclusively, the policy interventions done by the Government of India, in the form of direct benefit transfer (DBT) or the benefits of targeted BUPA, may be highlighted.

Approach:

  • Introduce by explaining the statement in the current context.
  • Mention the limitations of measuring poverty based on income only.
  • The depth of poverty cannot be determined.
  • Even if the vertical measurement be done, the horizontal level of poverty requires further splitting        
  • Mention the missing points in the current measurement parameters.
  • Conclude by giving suggestions on improvement in parameters relevant to the Indian context. 

Q.17 “Micro-Finance as an anti-poverty vaccine, is aimed at asset creation and income security of the rural poor in India”. Evaluate the role of Self-Help Groups in achieving the twin objectives along with empowering women in rural India. (Answer in 250 words)

Test Questions

Q). In the context of SHGs in India, explain how it can provide benefits amidst the ongoing pandemic. Also, suggest measures to make them more effective and empowered. (10 marks)

This question is oft-repeated and has almost acquired the status of being cliched. 

The importance of microfinance-institutions and its effect as an anti-poverty vaccine, the importance of self-help groups and women at the centre of this entire empowerment cycle has become a textbook method or template for invigorating development at the grass-root levels in underdeveloped areas. 

In this context, the contributions of Mohammad Younis, from Bangladesh, creating the Gramin bank from scratch could also be highlighted.

Approach:

  • Introduce by mentioning figures on how microfinance has helped asset creation and income security in rural areas.
  • You can include a few examples too to substantiate your point.
  • Then go on to the main body where the role of SHGs in achieving both the objectives along with women empowerment has to be evaluated.
  • While evaluating, mention both the positives and the negatives.
  • Talk about the concentration of SHGs in southern India.
  • Also, talk about how politicisation, caste system etc have derailed women empowerment.
  • Try to give examples all through the answer.
  • Conclude by talking about how the government is giving an increased focus on SHGs as an anti-poverty vehicle. Include schemes such as National Rural Livelihood Mission.

 


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Q18. National Education Policy 2020 conforms with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series Question

Q. “The New Education Policy is an old wine in a new glass”. Do you agree with this view? Examine. (15 marks)

This question mentions the areas in national education policy 2020 vis-a-vis Sustainable Development Goal-4. Also, one should be able to recall the conflict, when shortly after releasing the policy, the government clarified that no one will be forced to study any particular language and that the medium of instruction, would not be shifted from English to any regional language.

As the NEP 2020 was replacing NEP 1986, it was long overdue and several critical areas were now under consideration to be changed in the larger context of history, language and society.

Facts remain, Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian started the consultation process for the New Education Policy. Based on the committee report, in June 2017, the draft NEP was submitted in 2019 by a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan.

Approach:

  • Introduce by giving a context to the government bringing in NEP. The Kasturirangan committee recommendations and the subsequent urge to improve the education outcomes in the country as mentioned in SDG 4 can be pointed out.
  • Discuss the provisions mentioning how it intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India.
  • Then go on to the issues with NEP.
  • Talk how the issues still linger on right from the first education commission- the Kothari Commission.
  • Conclude by making suggestions on how an improved education scenario can be a gamechanger for India in different fields.

Q19. ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)’ is the transforming itself into a trade bloc from a military alliance, in present times – Discuss. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series

Q. A revival and re-invigoration of the Quad are called for to maintain peace and tranquillity in the Indo-pacific region. Examine. (10)

 

Given the changing global order and shift of economic and technological dominance from west to east the relevance of quadrilateral security dialogue (QUAD) and its transformation into a trade bloc from a military alliance created as a hedge against belligerent China needs a mention.

This has been one of the most important highlights of the current government, especially after the Chinese involvement across Indian borders post the 2017 Doklam crisis and failed outcomes of Mallapuram visits. 

Concerning other partner countries of the QUAD, the negative sentiments generated by the Chinese COVID conspiracy, its interventionist approach and non-cooperative stance at the WHO, must be emphasised. 

Approach:

  • Introduce by detailing what Quad is.
  • Then go to discuss how Quad is transforming itself into a trade bloc from a military alliance.
  • Include elements such as the Blue Dot Network, post-COVID supply chains, Quad to Quad+ to fight the Chinese dominance in trade.
  • Also, include elements such as the increasing emphasis on securing the Sea Lanes of Communication for trade.
  • Inclusion of increasing trade deals among member countries can also be a point of discussion.
  • Conclude by mentioning, the positive implications of the trade-related transformation in addition to supporting the cause of a military alliance. 

Q20. What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (Answer in 250 words)

Test series question

Q). India is witnessing increased variety in her bilateral/multilateral defence partnerships. Despite this, Russia remains an important ally. Analyse. (15 marks)

Concerning both the defence deals it remains a constant understanding that India is a net importer of defence technologies and equipment. 

In the increasingly multipolar world with varied interest, India needs to align its strategies keeping its immediate challenges at the forefront.

Defence deals with Russia are significant because of its trusted age-old friendly relations continuing since Soviet era whereas, the defence deals with America come after studying a lot of caveats and mutual convergences. 

It remains to be seen in the long run how India positions itself concerning defence deals with both these two countries, though in the short-term a trend of increasing reliance on US technology and convergence with the US military interests can be underscored. 

Some highlights could also be made of the positives and negatives of Indo Russian military cooperation. 

Brahmos could be cited as a positive accomplishment whereas the step-back from fifth-generation fighter aircraft could be counted as one of the negatives. 

Approach:

  • Introduce by giving the context of the deals that India is forging with both the countries.
  • Discuss how Indo-US deals are more beneficial than Indo-Russian deals in the context of Indo-Pacific.
  • You need to discuss why India needs to be more closely aligned with the US than Russia in the context of Indo-Pacific.
  • You can include elements like Quad, Belt and Road Initiative, the military bases of China, the Pakistan factor, the Russia-China-Pakistan alignment etc.
  • Conclude by making a mention of how India can take Indo-US relations forward.

Why Similar questions! Is it a fluke? 

At the risk of sounding boastful over the quality of our question papers, we want to highlight that there is no subjectivity involved in the process of question making. It’s a combination of research done by our content team over a distinctively wide horizon. 

We follow an evidence-based approach of question making where we closely analyse the UPSC’s line of thoughts, and how it seeks to balance, different themes every year thereby creating a pattern within the questions, which is reflective of the mindsets required for successful recommendation. 

Based on our study and analysis, we frame questions meeting twin expectations- one, of our aspirants and second, is our satisfaction. 


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Before we start the question-wise analysis, here are some of the observations with regards to UPSC 2020 Mains GS paper 3:

  • Taking the comprehensive view of the paper, the questions are more tilted towards Current Affairs.
    • Define potential GDP and explain its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP? 
    • How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA Notification, 2006?
    • What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security? 
  • The static topics are also a repetition of previous years’ trends.
    • What are the main constraints in the transport and marketing of agricultural produce in India?
    • What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in the health sector?
  • The straightforwardness of questions made the paper very general and easy to tackle.
    • For effective border area management, discuss the steps required to be taken to deny local support to militants and also suggest ways to manage favorable perception among locals. 
    • COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation worldwide. However, technological advancements are being availed readily to win over the crisis. Give an account of how technology was sought to aid the management of the pandemic. 
  • Very few questions require some specific knowledge but manageable.
    • What are the major factors responsible for making the rice-wheat system a success? In spite of this success, how has this system become a bane in India? 
    • What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration, and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas?
  • Weightage according to the sectors:
    • Economy & Agriculture-  8
    • Environment & Disaster Management- 6
    • Science & Technology- 2
    • Internal Security- 4

Remark: 

The questions are easy to handle if the students have a thorough idea of syllabus and a hold on Current Affairs. Bringing out multi-dimensionality will fetch good marks.


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Question-wise analysis of UPSC 2020 GS Paper 3

Q1. Explain intragenerational and intergenerational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development. 

CD TEST Q.) What do you understand by fiscal deficit? Does higher fiscal deficit violate the principles of intergenerational equity in longer run ? Critically analyse.

APPROACH

  • Simply start by defining Inter and Intra generational equity.
  • In the body, with the help of examples link these two equities with inclusive growth and sustainable development.
    • Eg: Equity in education has two dimensions. The first is fairness, which basically means making sure that personal and social circumstances – for example, gender, socio-economic status, or ethnic origin – should not be an obstacle to achieving educational potential.
    • The second is inclusion, in other words ensuring a basic minimum standard of education for all – for example that everyone should be able to read, write and do simple arithmetic.
  • Similarly bring up other dimensions like health, finance, environment, etc.
  • Conclude either by suggesting some reforms or giving certain schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and so on.

Q2. Define potential GDP and explain its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP? 

CD TEST Q. Among several factors for India’s potential growth, at this moment, government expenditure is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the impediments in increasing Government expenditure? (10 marks)

Approach

  • Straight forward- define potential GDP- Potential gross domestic product (GDP) is defined in the OECD’s Economic Outlook publication as the level of output that an economy can produce at a constant inflation rate. Although an economy can temporarily produce more than its potential level of output, that comes at the cost of rising inflation.
  • Its determinants- The capital stock, the potential labor force depending on demographic factors and participation rates, the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, and the level of labor efficiency determine this potential output which is important to calculate the output gap.
  • Give the factors inhibiting its growth with examples.
  • Conclude by giving suggestions about how to overcome the challenges.

Q3. What are the main constraints in transport and marketing of agricultural produce in India?

CD TEST Q.  The APMC Act has been blamed for poor price realisation by the farmers. Recently announced reforms promise to do away with such issues in the APMC Act. In light of this, examine the issues with APMC Acts and how the promised reforms are expected to resolve such issues.

Approach

  • Start with some data regarding the current status of transport issues in agricultural marketing
  • Give the main constraints like- perishable goods, road infrastructure, modal interconnect, mandi infrastructure, inadequate logistics connectivity, support and facilities to ensure the farmers timely delivery of their harvest into the markets; lack of services including mobile cold storage for fresh perishable produce and so on.
  • Conclude by suggesting a way forward for overcoming these hurdles.


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Q4. What are the challenges and opportunities of food processing sector in the country? How can income of the farmers be substantially increased by encouraging food processing?

CD TEST Q. India is one of the biggest food producing hubs in the world but recently the food processing industry in India is not showing the desired results. Write a note on the challenges being faced by the food processing industry in India. Also suggest the measures needed to revamp the food processing sector?

Approach

  • Introduce either by giving some data on food processing sectors in India or by defining the sector.
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities in two three points.
  • Provide the link of improving the food processing sector and its impact on farmers income. 
  • You can quote Dalwai Committee and Niti Ayog recommendations also.
  • Conclude by providing suggestions for furthering up the sector.

Q5. What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in health sector?

CD TEST Q. Nanotechnology is a pathbreaking technology which can create many new materials and devices with a wide range  of applications, such as in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics etc. Discuss. 

Q. “Nanotechnology is an area of science and technology that holds highly promising prospects for military applications, considering its wide applicability in defensive as well as offensive operations.” Examine. 

Approach

  • Straight forward question
  • Define nanotechnology
  • Give its applications in health sector especially the emerging diseases and the cure provided by nanotechnology 
  • End the answer by giving the way forward about how to utilise the sector to its full potential.

Q6. How is science interwoven deeply with our lives? What are the striking changes in agriculture triggered off by the science-based technologies?

CD TEST Q. Examine how India should use breakthroughs in biotechnology and genetic engineering for achieving the goal of low-input, high-output agriculture which is a prerequisite for doubling farmers’ income.  

Approach

  • Introduce the answer by providing a few examples about use of science in everyday life.
  • Open ended question so the body will contain all possible dimensions in the answer.
  • Then give advancement in science and its utilisation in agriculture- drone technology, happy seed drill machine, irrigation technologies etc.
  • Link the environmental concern and utilisation of science in overcoming the challenges in the field of agriculture.

Q7. How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA Notification, 2006?

CD TEST Q. How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA Notification, 2006?

Approach

  • Straight forward question
  • Provide the major amendments made in the draft Act and how is it better or its limitations a compared to earlier version

Q8. What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security?

CD TEST Q. In a world driven by climate change, water, as a public resource, has become crucial. In the light of this, discuss how Jal Jeevan Mission will bring some respite in the lives of people in general and rural areas in particular. 

Approach

  • Give the current status of water usage and scarcity in India.
  • Give the relevant salient features- which will help India in its water conservation ideas.  
  • Provide a way forward for the capacity utilization of the scheme.

Q9. Discuss different types of cybercrimes and measures required to be taken to fight the menace.

CD TEST Q. As “Digital India” grows, cyber security vulnerabilities will increase too. In this context, critically analyse India’s cyber security capabilities. 

Approach

  • Define cybercrime and its aspects
  • Different types- phishing, fake news, frauds, malware attacks etc.
  • Dimensions- from all stakeholders’ perspective.
  • Give the measures taken by Indian Government and also some international obligations.
  • Conclude by providing some mitigation measures.

Q10. For effective border area management, discuss the steps required to be taken to deny local support to militants and also suggest ways to manage favourable perception among locals. 

Approach 

  • Start by giving a view on the situation around boundary areas in India.
  • Give different steps taken by the Government in terms of providing a trust, use of technology, border area management by the forces involved, use of traditional methods adopted by locals, etc.
  • Suggest ways for a comprehensive strategy to manage border area issues.

Q11. Explain the meaning of investment in an economy in terms of capital formation. Discuss the factors to be considered while designing a concession agreement between a public entity and a private entity.

Q12. Explain the rationale behind the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act of 2017. How has COVID-19 impacted the GST compensation fund and created new federal tensions? 

CD TEST Q. What were the reasons for making provisions under GST for paying the states compensation for tax revenue shortfall? What are the implications of the provision for the Central government?

Q.) The Goods and Service Tax has been a grand bargain in cooperative federalism. But the issue of GST compensation to the States in the aftermath of lockdown threatens this achievement in federalism. In light of this, explain the issue of compensation and suggest the ways to deal with it.

Approach

  • Give the current scenario of GST Act in India.
  • Discuss both the sides of bringing the Act in India. Provide the Pros and Cons of it.
  • Its role during the time of Pandemic and why it created tensions in the federal system.
  • Conclude by providing suggestions about how to make the system more effective in future.

Q13. What are the major factors responsible for making the rice-wheat system a success? In spite of this success how has this system become bane in India? 

CD TEST Q.  Analyse Critically whether the existing cropping patterns in different parts of India would need any change for better agriculture performance in the future. 

Approach

  • You can start by giving a view on the present status of the Green Revolution in India and how it created a bias towards the Rice-Wheat system.
  • Factors responsible for its success- technologies gave advantage to this like hybrid seeds, machines , irrigation etc. more price for this, MSP on these two crops etc.
  • How is it a bane- irrigation infrastructure not adequate still many areas are involved in this leading to underground water exploitation, limiting crop diversification and so on.
  • Conclusion should contain suggestions to overcome the above problems.

Q14. Suggest measures to improve water storage and irrigation system to make judicious use under depleting scenario.

CD TEST Q. What do you understand by micro irrigation? Discuss its importance to a country like India?

Approach

  • Straight forward question
  • Use of technology, drip irrigation system, water harvesting techniques, sponge cities mission etc.


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Q15. COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation worldwide. However, technological advancements are being availed readily to win over the crisis. Give an account of how technology was sought to aid management of the pandemic. 

Approach

  • Introduce by giving the scenario of covid pandemic.
  • Technological advancement- for testing like RT PCR, Antigen test kits, PPEs, use of simulations to detect the mutations and easier development of vaccines, testing variants of medicines already available etc. 

Q16. Describe the benefits of deriving electric energy from sunlight in contrast to the conventional energy generation. What are the initiatives offered by our Government for this purpose?

CD TEST Q. What are the  advantages of Lithium ion batteries that makes it most suitable for e-vehicles and other devices? Examine India’s technological and manufacturing capabilities in this crucial product. 

Approach

  • Start by giving a general perspective on the usage of Renewable energy in India.
  • Give the benefits of Solar Energy over Conventional Thermal Energy- less polluting, long lasting supply, easier availability, better outreach etc.
  • Give Government initiatives like- ISA, Solar Energy Mega parks, KUSUM scheme, Net Metering etc.
  • Conclude giving suggestions of improving the renewable energy sector more.

Q17. What are the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) initiated by the Government of India?

CD TEST Q. Discuss key features of the National clean air program? Will it be able to solve the problem of air pollution in India.Critically examine?

Approach

  • Direct question
  • Give the introduction about the pollution problems at present. 
  • Describe the key features of the NCAP.
  • Conclude by giving way forward for proper implementation of the plan and some innovative methods.

Q18. Discuss the recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India departing from the earlier reactive approach.

CD TEST Q. The National Disaster Management Plan is devoid of many important elements that make a good and robust action plan. It may fulfill the formal requirement of law of having a plan but it may not be effective in achieving its grandiose vision of building resilience. Discuss.

Approach

  • Introduce by discussing the ongoing pandemic.
  • Discuss about the changes done- like PM CARES Fund, changes in Epidemic acts, lockdown etc.
  • Conclusion- measures to bring about more mitigation related efforts and visionary approach.


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Q19. What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in Eastern part of India? What strategy should the Government of India, civil administration and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas?

CD TEST Q.  The Government of India has adopted an integrated and holistic approach to deal with the Left Wing Extremist (LWE) insurgency. In this context, discuss the challenges while dealing with this internal security in India. Critically analyse the steps are taken by India to curb this menace.

Approach

  • Introduction: define some context of LWE in India.
  • Give the determinants of such activities happening in different states.
  • Strategy from different authorities- Developmental plans, educational opportunities, awareness, rehabilitation policies etc.
  • Way forward and suggestions for further improvements. 

Q20. Analyse internal security threats and transborder crimes along Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan borders including Line of Control (LoC). Also discuss the role played by various security forces in this regard. 

CD TEST Q. Cross-Border movement of insurgents is only one of the several security challenges facing the policing of the border in North-East India. Examine the various challenges currently emanating across the India-Bangladesh border. Also, discuss the steps to counter the challenges. 

Approach

  • Define the term internal security threats or add some current affairs-related news.
  • Discuss various threats emerging on border fronts- illegal immigration, smuggling, ceasefire violations, terrorist attacks, organized crimes, ethnic conflicts, etc. 
  • Discuss the strategies adopted by India in this respect.
  • The role played by border forces, paramilitary forces, etc to curb such crimes.
  • Way forward and innovative suggestions for border management.

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Click here for a detailed questions-wise analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 1

Click here for a detailed questions-wise analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 2

Click here for a detailed analysis of UPSC Mains 2020 GS paper 4- Ethics


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UPSC Mains 2020 GS Paper 1: Question wise analysis


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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.

Conclusion: 

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.

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:

  • 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.

Body:

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)

 

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 

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. 

Body: 

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

Conclusion

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.

Body: 

  • 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. 

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.

Body: 

  • 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 

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

Body: 

  • 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  

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.

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:

Introduction:

Link diversity pluralism and globalisation in two three lines.

Body:

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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