UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-III Syllabus & Structure

The UPSC GS 3 constitutes one of the nine subjective papers within the UPSC Mains examination. It encompasses various subjects, including Economic Development, Technology, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. This article aims to furnish you with a comprehensive GS 3 syllabus and exam structure for your IAS Exam preparations, maintaining the original length.

IAS Mains General Studies-III encompasses the following subjects:

  1. Technology
  2. Economic Development
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Environment
  5. Security
  6. Disaster Management

Focus Area in GS3 Paper

EconomicsEconomic Development in India
Science & TechnologyDark Matter
Higgs Boson
Rare Earth Elements
GM Crops
Gene Editing
Artificial Intelligence
Space Technology
Defence Technology
BiodiversityTypes of Biodiversity
Biodiversity and Environment
SecurityInternal Security Challenges in India
Disaster ManagementDisaster Management in India
PM Cares Fund
National Disaster Management Plan 2016

How to Approach GS3 Paper

Economic DevelopmentCurrent Affairs
Select articles from ‘The Hindu’
Class 12 NCERT – ‘Introductory Macroeconomics’
Economic Survey of India and India Year Book
Biodiversity, EnvironmentCurrent Affairs
Textbook of Environmental Studies For Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha
Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Official Website
TechnologyCurrent Affairs
Security & Disaster ManagementCurrent Affairs
Yojana (January 2017) edition- this covers Disaster Management perspectives.

Practical Tips for GS Paper 3 Preparation:

  1. Prioritize Current Affairs: Given the significant overlap between IAS Mains GS-III and current affairs, utilize the Daily News Analysis for effective preparation.
  2. Note-Taking Strategy: When making notes, use blank sheets of paper or an unruled notebook. Draw margins on both sides to familiarize yourself with the format of the answer booklet provided during the Mains Examination.
  3. Mnemonics for Memorization: Employ mnemonic devices whenever possible. For instance, consider memorizing the components under ‘Bharat Nirman’ using the mnemonic ‘WRITE H,’ where each alphabet corresponds to a component:
    • W: Water
    • R: Roads
    • I: Irrigation
    • E: Electricity
    • T: Telephone
    • H: Housing
  4. Visual Aids in Notes: Enhance your notes with illustrations. Utilize sticky notes to create brief diagrams, flowcharts, and other visual aids. These can be pasted in your textbooks or notebooks for reference and will prove invaluable during revision.
  5. Clarify Doubts: For answers to even the smallest queries related to the economy, science, environment, or agriculture, rely on Civilsdaily’s Clarity Webinars.

GS-III Structure

The General Studies Paper III in the Mains Exam is characterized by the following key features:

  1. Bilingual Questions: There are 20 questions presented in both English and Hindi, and candidates are required to respond in the language chosen during the application process.
  2. Total Marks: The paper carries a total weightage of 250 marks.
  3. Word Limit: For 10-mark questions, the word limit is set at 150 words, while 15-mark questions allow up to 250 words for answers.
  4. Emphasis on Economic Development: This paper places a significant emphasis on Economic Development. Consequently, questions may venture into areas such as Social Justice and international relations, extending beyond the scope of GS II. Moreover, topics related to Environment may overlap with the geographical knowledge required for GS-I, as well as Economic Development and Biodiversity, which are covered in GS II. Therefore, meticulous analysis of each question and the ability to provide concise, to-the-point answers within the specified word limit is crucial. A thorough understanding of the UPSC GS 3 Syllabus is instrumental in achieving this.
  5. Focus on Security and Disaster Management: Questions pertaining to Security and Disaster Management are predominantly found in the latter half of the paper. Therefore, it is imperative to revise topics related to Internal Security and Disaster Management. Additionally, staying updated on contemporary issues, including emerging challenges such as cybercrime, is essential for success in this paper.

For a comprehensive understanding of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-III (UPSC GS 3 syllabus), please refer to the detailed syllabus outlined below:

Indian EconomyIssues related to planning
Mobilization of resources
Inclusive GrowthInclusive growth
Issues arising from or related to inclusive growth
BudgetingGovernment Budgeting
Major Crops and Cropping PatternsMajor crops and cropping pattern in different parts of the country
Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage
Transport and marketing of agricultural produce
Issues related to transport and marketing of agricultural produce
E- technology in the aid of farmers
Subsidies, Poverty Alleviation and Agricultural TechnologyIssues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies
Issues related to Minimum Support Prices

Public Distribution System:

Issues related to buffer stocks and food security
Technology missions
Economics of Animal rearing
Food Processing and Related IndustriesFood processing and related industries in India:
Scope and significance
Upstream and downstream requirements

Supply chain management
Land ReformsLand reforms in India
LiberalizationEffects of Liberalization on the economy
Changes in industrial policy
Effects of changes in industrial policy on industrial growth
Railways etc.
InvestmentInvestment models such as Public-Private Partnerships, Build Operate Transfer etc.
Science and TechnologyDevelopments in Science and Technology
Applications of scientific developments in everyday life
Effects of scientific developments in everyday life
Achievements of Indians in Science and TechnologyImportant contributions of Indians in Science and Technology
Indigenization of technology
Developing new technology indigenously
General AwarenessAwareness in the following fields:
Issues related to Intellectual Property
Rights in these fields
Environmental pollution and degradation
Environmental Impact Assessment
Disaster ManagementDisasters
Disaster Management
SecurityLinkages between development and spread of extremism
Role of state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Challenges to Internal Security through communication networks:
Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

Basics of Cyber Security
Money laundering and its prevention

Security challenges and their management in border areas:
Linkages of organized crime with terrorism
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

GS-III Trend Analysis

Agriculture/Food industry605550

IAS Exam Pattern

UPSC IAS ExamPattern of IAS Exam
Preliminary ExaminationGeneral Studies
Aptitude Test
Mains ExaminationQualifying:
Paper-A (One of the 22 Indian Languages)
Paper-B (English)
Papers to be counted for merit:
Paper-I (Essay)
Paper-II (GS-I)
Paper-III (GS-II)
Paper-IV (GS-III)
Paper-V (GS-IV)
Paper-VI (Optional Paper-I)
Paper-VI (Optional Paper-II)
Personality Test

The UPSC IAS Exam witnessed significant structural modifications in 2013, with minor adjustments occurring in 2015 and 2016. The alterations pertaining to General Studies are as follows:

  • 2013: The number of General Studies papers increased from 2 to 4.
  • 2015: CSAT marks ceased to contribute to the merit list, with only General Studies papers, essays, and optional papers considered for merit ranking, while CSAT became a qualifying paper.
  • 2016: The marks distribution for General Studies Papers shifted to a two-tier system, departing from the earlier uniform marks allocation for all questions.

Given the recent trend of in-depth analysis of UPSC papers, it is imperative to thoroughly comprehend the topics covered in General Studies Paper-II. Additionally, reviewing previous years’ UPSC questions and answers can enhance your ability to respond effectively and efficiently.

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