[Video] Mains GS Paper 1 – Repeated questions from Mains Guidance Program

Our Mains Test Series had the highest hit ratio among all the test series. Going with us gives you the best shot at scoring very high marks in Mains.

For GS1, 13 questions directly came from our 3 Full-Length-Tests. Not the complete test series, not the daily answer writing. Just the Full-Length-Tests.

If you followed our website/study material, you would’ve written above average answers for the complete paper. YES. The complete paper.

*These are not solutions but pointers/line of thought to be followed.

**Please do not look for a precise 1-1 match between the UPSC paper and our Test Series. The comparison is there to help you get a feel of the approach we follow in our Test Series.
***In the comments section, let us know interesting points along with the reasons that could enrich these answers.

1) Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment (10 marks)

We had written a note on heritage 2 years back.

1. What is heritage erosion and how can we manage it?

2. What are the components of heritage?

It was accessible via clicking on Paper 1 on left sidebar – https://www.civilsdaily.com/gspaper/paper1/

We can’t claim this question but at the same time, we will work to ensure that good content from which questions are expected are made more accessible before the exams.


>Introduction – Start with defining Indian Art Heritage.

The term heritage has wide connotations spanning across nature, culture, food and other dimensions. Art heritage primarily refers to the tangible heritage comprising of

1.Paintings and art forms

2.Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites




Preserving our heritage is enshrined as a Fundamental Duty in our Constitution

Threats to Art Heritage

1.Lack of public awareness -This makes the local administrator break the buildings and replace it with other structures.

2.Duplication of paintings and art forms



Reasons for safeguarding


1.Identity and pride of our country.


2. Tourism involves around monuments.

3. Infrastructure development takes place in and around the areas. Eg. Khajuraho despite being a small village has excellent infrastructure.

4. Creates jobs.


5. It creates a feeling of community, a sense of attachment. enhances a sense of belonging.

Way forward

Strengthening institutions

-Ministry of Culture, ASI, Museums, Archives, etc.

Cultural awareness programs.

-Curriculum modification – Identification and inclusion of heritage as an asset in school, Open departments of Heritage management on the lines of Ahmedabad University

-Introduction of a compulsory offline and online training for tourism purposes willing to undertake ventures.

-Heritage depiction and promotion through immersive technology & augmented reality

-Re-Classify heritage and announce awards for people with exceptional heritage sense.

Adaptive reuse of heritage sites

-Restoring the historical sites in the form of festivals and inducing festivity link perceptions.

2) Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travelers in the reconstruction of the history of India. (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round1 GS1

19. Greek and Roman literary account proved extremely useful in writing the history of Ancient India? Discuss.

This shows how our thinking is on the spot. Make a note of this question. Absolutely important for prelims and mains next year.


Foreign travelers in the past played a more profound role than tourists of the present day. They were agents of civilizational contact and exchange, bringing with them new ideas, skills and technologies and returning with new knowledge.

They left elaborate records of their travels often mentioning facts that native writers simply took for granted and hence ignored.

Chinese travelers visited India during the Gupta and Post-Gupta period when Buddhism was prominent while notable Arab travelers can be seen during the medieval period with the advent of Islamic rulers. Few important accounts are as follows.

Fa-Hien – Account of the Gupta Period

An extensive account of society. first to talk about the caste system and shudras. Shudras were kept outside the town and entered the town by making a noise with a stick. Fahien had also mentioned about Shaiv and Vaishnav religion.

Comprehensive eyewitness account of the history and customs of Central Asia and India.

Economic account. Stated that income of the government was mainly based on the revenue taxes which were one-sixth of the total production.

Similarly, talk about

Hsuan-Tsang – Account during Harshavardhan’s era.

Al Beruni (AD 973 – 1048) – Mahmud of Ghazni. Culture of Indians especially the hindus.

Abdur Razzaq – Vijaynagar Empire

Conclusion – They provide enriching narratives highlighting the diversity of our past.

3) Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times. (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round3 GS1

5. By offering an ideological critique of the western civilization in its modern phase, Gandhiji was effectively contesting the moral legitimacy of the Raj that rested on a stated assumption of the superiority of the west. Comment (10 marks)

One of the most important topics from UPSC perspective relevant for Essay, GS1, GS4. A more difficult question was asked in the test series.


Start with a line like Gandhi is regarded as the greatest Indian since Gautama Buddha and the greatest man since Jesus Christ.

Elaborate on the following writing 1-2 lines and you’ll score an 8/10.


2.Ahimsa – believer in peace and harmony.


4.Swaraj – Multidimensional concept spanning political, cultural, economic and technological spheres.

5.Dharma – Multidimensional concept meaning many things depending upon the situation – obedience to law, morality, being virtuous, etc.

6.Trusteeship Model – Though a failed model but inspired Corporate Social Responsibility. The best companies in the world invest heavily in social projects.

7.Ram Rajya/ Decentralized polity – Democracy is about giving power to the masses. Debates around strengthening the Panchayati Raj system all based on this ideal.

8.Sarvodaya and Antyodaya

9.Campaign against untouchability

10.Campaign for cleanliness – Inspired swatch bharat.

11.Ethical journalism – Gandhi was a journalist at heart. He published 4 newspapers and used it as a medium to generate awareness.

12.Opposition to western materialism, appreciation for sciences and bringing back spiritualism from our past.

4) Why is the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (10 marks)

Straightforward question.


IRNSS constellation of eight satellites, NavIC. Three satellites are located in suitable orbital slots in the geostationary orbit and the remaining four are located in geosynchronous orbits with the required inclination and equatorial crossings in two different planes.

It is needed for the following

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Besides the above applications, it has implications for India’s security. It will help India become self-reliant to keep a close watch on its boundaries and remove its dependence on US-based GPS. Hence, its military applications remain important.

It is also playing an important role in India’s softer diplomacy by providing services to our neighboring countries.

It helps in navigation in the following manner

>It uses the principle of triangulation.

It requires only three satellites to provide a precise location. The other satellites add to the accuracy.

<draw a diagram with the intersection of 3 circles>

If you are positioned somewhere on Earth with three satellites in the sky and if you know how far away you are from satellite A, then you know you must be located somewhere on the red circle. If you do the same for satellites B and C, you can work out your location by seeing where the three circles intersect.

5) Why is India taking a keen interest in the Arctic Region? (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round 3 GS 3. 

Q2 As the Arctic has continued to warm and the temperature difference relative to the equator has reduced, many strange climate anomalies have been witnessed around the world. Examine. 

Previously asked mains question on Arctic Council. Since questions are hardly repeated we had left this question.


The introduction can start with the definition

Arctic Region refers to the polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. It consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of countries like Alaska, Finland, Greenland, etc.

Once ignored because of the prevalence of ice, it has started gaining importance due to the melting of ice caps because of global warming. Its implications have caught India’s interest.

1. Climate change concerns – Global Warming leading to the melting of ice can lead to the release of more methane and CO2 accelerating Global Warming. This can further lead to a rise in sea levels across the globe impacting India as it remains surrounded by water on 3 sides. This concern needs to be addressed.

2. Navigation routes – New and shorter strategic sea routes that will change the pattern of energy flow on sea lanes of communications (SLOCs).

3.Oil Beds – Arctic seabed may contain substantial oil fields which may become accessible if the ice covering them melts.

4. Finally, Arctic Region is not considered as a global common and its discourse remains dominated by the Arctic Five countries and the Arctic Council. This doesn’t work in India’s favor.

Hence, it’s in India’s interest to make Arctic talks more accessible. With Russia, China already laying their claims on various parts of the region, India should try to push its agenda in the Arctic Council. It should try to ensure that developing countries have a say in the matters of Arctic Region. This will not only ensure that its economic, security and environmental interests are protected but will see India play a leadership role in promoting south-south solidarity.

6) Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics. (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round1 GS1 

16. Without magma man’s survival and progress would have been difficult. Comment.

17. The theory of plate tectonics has greatly contributed to our understanding of the earth. Comment.

Though not precisely the same question, attempting the test would’ve ensured that you don’t leave the question blank and write some quality points on plate tectonics and mantle.

7) What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem? (10 marks)

8) “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, the caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment. (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round 2 GS1 

Q.18) Caste in its old form is irrelevant and cannot exist in the modern or contemporary Indian society. Comment(15)

Hope you appreciate the similarities in the questions. We asked Caste in its old form is irrelevant and the question said caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Had you gone through the model answer, you would’ve gotten some rich points to attempt this question.

9) ‘Despite the implementation of various programmes for the eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (10 marks).

Very general question. Asked across our TS in GS1, GS2, GS3 in various forms linking with lack of female participation, etc.

10) How the Indian concept of secularism different from the western model of secularism? Discuss. (10 marks)

Similar question from Test Series Round 2 GS1

Q.19) India needs a reinvented secularism 2.0 rooted in the complete separation of religion and state. Critically comment(15)


Secularism broadly refers to the separation of religion from state and its confinement to the private sphere. It’s a western construct whose roots can be traced back to the treaty of Westphalia which called for state sovereignty and its separation of religion. However, the relationship between religion and states remain complex.

There are 2 prominent models of secularism regarded as western models

1.France –> wall of separation model – which calls for a water-tight separation between the religion and state exists. The state actively tries to confine people’s religion to their private spheres and bans public appearances. Eg. banning burkinis, hijab, etc.

2.USA -> no-preference model – which calls for equal treatment of all religions by the state and no preferential treatment. In USA, you have every right to wear your religion in public.

The version of Indian Secularism has been a matter of intense debate. Secularism is a part of the Preamble and the Constitution calls for no discrimination on the basis of religion. However, it also allows the state to intervene in matters of religion via Art. 25-30. The DPSP for establishing UCC also goes against the principles of Secularism.

Some matters where the state has interfered

1.The Hindu Marriage Act.
2.The Triple Talaq Ban
3.Jallikatu, Temple Entry, etc.
Hence one can see it is neither a wall of separation model nor a no-preference model.
The Indian Secularism can be best described as that of ‘Principled Distance’. The doctrine of Principled Distance allows states to interfere in matters of religion to stop discrimination and ensure that all religion are treated equally.

11) The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss. (15 marks)

Similar question from Test Series – Round3 G S1

4.Kabir was one of the chief exponents of the Bhakti movement in the medieval period. Discuss the Relevance of the teachings of Kabir in Contemporary India? (10 marks)

Instead of Chaitanya, we asked Kabir. We could’ve asked any Bhakti saint like Dadu Dayal, Tulsi Das. We went with Kabir so students could at least attempt Kabir if it was asked in the exam.


Chaitanya – Bengal+Orissa. He takes Bhakti Movement to the east of India where it flourishes.
Popularised Kirtans
Founder of Gaudiya Samaj. Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Gaudiya Nritya is one of the dances accepted in the UNESCO world heritage.
Bhidabhida philosophy school.

Leads to many important cultural developments in east India.

15) Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (15 marks)

Straightforward question asked in GS3. 

16) What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics. (15 marks)


Industrial Corridors are envisioned to create a strong economic base with the globally competitive environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure to activate local commerce, enhance foreign investments and attain sustainable development
Their significance is as follows
1. The corridor approach is a proven concept to ensure industrial development in under-utilized regions.
2. Integration between industry and infrastructure
-World class infrastructure such as high-speed transportation (rail, road) network, ports with state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment, modern airports, special economic regions/ industrial areas, logistic parks/transshipment hubs, knowledge parks focused on feeding industrial needs, complementary infrastructure such as townships/ real estate, and other urban infrastructure along with enabling policy framework.
3. Opportunities for private sector investment in the provision of various infrastructure projects associated with the exploitation industrial opportunity. Enhancing ‘Make in India’.
4. Ensure smooth access to industrial production units, decreased transportation, and communications costs, improved delivery time and reduction in inventory cost. The strategy of an industrial corridor is thus intended to develop a sound industrial base, served by world-class competitive infrastructure as a prerequisite for attracting investments into export-oriented industries and manufacturing.
5. Technological Prowess.
6. Social Upliftment.

Write a few unique points about the following, the involvement of foreign organizations, etc.
Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor
Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor
Bengaluru Mumbai Economic Corridor
Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor
East Coast Economic Corridor

17) Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India and explain the nature of convergence, collaboration, and competition for its success. (15 marks)

18) ‘Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (15 marks)


Women’s movement in India has come a long way since the humble efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar to fight for women’s rights.

In their time, it was the upper social strata who were subjected to inhumane practices like Sati. However, the scenario seems to have changed today. Women of lower social strata either belonging to lower castes, minority religion or economically backward regions continue to face hardships.

Political sphere
-elite women with influence occupying offices in governments, panchayats and other bodies.
Economic sphere
-glass ceiling breaking in corporations like google, microsoft. But the wage gap remains prominent for semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
Social sphere
The worst forms of Patriarchy is more prominent in the lower social strata. Haryana with primarily agricultural economy had the poorest child sex ratio.
Education sphere
Access to both lower and higher education remains limited.

Women empowerment can happen when everyone works towards it – the government, society, families, and individuals.

The government programs targeted towards women empowerment have started to bear fruits. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Dhanlaxmi scheme and others have acted as catalysts to promote behavior and mindset changes.

The society should be forthcoming to support women. The story of Phogat Sisters tells us how women can bring accolades to the country. All started with a father, an individual questioning established norms.

19) ‘Globalisation is generally said to promote cultural homogenisation but due to this cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian society.’ Elucidate.

Similar question from Test Series – Round 2 GS1

18. While Globalization has destroyed many traditional practices and Industries in India it has also given new lease of life to some of them who were on the ventilator. Examine. (15)

We did not ask a question on Globalization and culture as it had been asked by UPSC before. Hence we went with other dimension of Globalization. 


Globalisation refers to the increases interconnected due to technological advancements leading to a shrinking of time and space and flattening of the world. Though thought of as an economic phenomena, it is now accepted to impact all spheres of life – political, social and cultural.

In its initial days, globalisation was equated with westernisation or americanisation which meant that the culture of the west was spreading across the globe. One could travel to new york and new delhi and find them to be similar in almost all spheres including culture. Thus globalisation was supposed to have a homogenizing tendency.

However, the relationship between globalisation and culture is a complex one. Globalisation has not been able to replace old existing cultures. Instead evidence suggests that globalisation has strengthened them and even modified them.

1.Indian cuisines traveling to the west
Indian food restaurants are now available all around the world. Indian curries and masalas have also become a part of our soft power diplomacy.
2.Ancient indian practices like yoga and ayurveda being adopted around the globe.
People are now looking for the most authentic experience.
3. With the advent of ecommerce, global value chains and internet, local arts and crafts are also
Top hotels of the world are buying handwoven Indian designs sourced from traditional communities. Ikkat, block painting, etc designs are gaining popularity world over.
4.Traditional Indian forms of music and communities like the Manganiars are being studied in the Berkeley School of Music.
5. Contemporary cinema Bollywood has increased its fan following across the globe.

At the same time, local cultures are modifying western cultures. McDonalds serving a menu catering to Indian taste buds is a case in point. This phenomena has been termed as ‘glocalization’

From the above, it can be seen that the relationship between globalisation and culture is complex with each impacting the other. The above examples indeed prove that cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian society.

20) ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation.’ Argue by giving suitable illustrations. (15 marks)

Communalism in the Indian context refers to the ideology which states that society is divided into different religious communities whose interests differ from, and at times oppose, each other. Historically, Indian society has been regarded as  a melting pot of various religions that have been tolerant of each other. However, the British policy of divide and rule laid the foundations of communalism which the Indian state has found hard to tackle post-independence.

Communalism indeed arises due to power struggle and relative deprivation

Power struggle
-Power struggle between political parties leading to vote bank politics with each trying to garner votes based on identity markers such as religion. Eg. Congress and BJP both trying to appease Muslims and in turn strengthening the Hindu Muslim divide.
-Between majority and minority groups. Eg. Sikhs and Hindus.

Relative deprivation

Deprivation makes groups to fight for limited resources.
-Case with Assamese and Non-Assamese. Deprivation of the native groups led to movements throughout the state.
Deprivation makes it easier to influence a group. Rather than self-introspect they blame others for their condition. It causes them to support anyone who can help them marginally move above their misery.
-Vice President Ansari had pointed out the relative deprivation among Muslims to be the biggest causes of communal tension.

Long-Term Remedy for Communalism

  1. There is a need to initiate the process of de-communalization of the people at all levels, say, by exposing communal assumptions, by explaining to them the socio-economic and political roots of communalism, and by letting them know that what the communalists project as problems are not the real problem and what they suggest as remedies are not the real remedies.
  2. Communalism of state and of the political elite in power has to be checked because it leads to inaction against communal violence and covert or overt political and ideological support to communalism by the state apparatuses, including the media under state control.
  3. Communalization of civil society also needs to be checked because it leads to more communal roots and other forms of communal violence. It is here that intellectuals, political parties, and voluntary organizations can be the most effective.
  4. The role of education, particularly value-oriented education, both in schools and colleges is important in preventing communal feelings.
  5. The media can prove to be significant in preventing communal feelings. Communal press can be banned and legal action can be taken against communal writers.
  6. The ideology that economic development, industrialization, the growth of capitalism and the growth of the working class would automatically weaken and ultimately eliminate communalism should not be overplayed.
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