On 9th January 2021, UPSC Conducted General Studies 1 and General Studies 2 Paper for Civil Services Mains Examination 2020. 

Total Marks 250 each for GS 1 and GS 2 

Total Duration: 3 Hours each. 

  • The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. 
  • The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. 
  • The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. 
  • The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyse, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates  are expected to give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

GS 2 Paper Comprises of following sections: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations




Analysis of GS 2  Paper: 

  • Overall paper was on expected lines but there were some googlies like comparison between  judicial systems in India and UK, Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) role in initiating e-Governance. But neglecting these 1-2 questions the paper could have been easily attempted by serious aspirants properly preparing for the last 1 year.
  • The coverage was comprehensive spanning across the syllabus covering questions from almost every section of GS 2 syllabus.

Questions were asked from portions like:

  • Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure, Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges Therein: This is one of the  favourite topics of UPSC and became more important this year with Covid-19 impact on Indian federalism, GST compensation to states issue etc. We saw similar questions in previous years too such as:
    • Q. Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. (2014-Paper II)
    • Q. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasised in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings. (2015-Paper II)
  • Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these: Last year the speaker role in disqualification of MLAs in the Manipur Legislative Assembly raised questions on the impartiality and objectivity of the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha. The question on the Speaker must have been asked due to these events.
  • Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; Pressure Groups and Formal/Informal Associations and their Role in the Polity: This section saw an unexpected question on comparison  between judicial systems in India and UK. Though several questions have been asked on Judiciary in the past, comparing it with other countries’ counterparts may have boggled some minds.
  • Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act:  We saw a question on the need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices from this section. This is a favourite section of UPSC as we can see questions asked from here in previous years too.
    • 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"person against his disqualification. (150 marks) (2019-Paper I)
    • Q. What are the grounds of disqualification of a Member of Parliament from either House? Quote relevant provisions in your answer. (150 words) (2010-Paper I)
  • Development Processes and the Development Industry — the Role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders: The question on Micro-Financing as an anti-poverty vaccine and role of Self Help Groups must have been easily attempted by aspirants who have covered the static of this section.
  • Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections: The question on much needed sound and adequate health care policies in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care was  asked from this much loved section of UPSC. The articles in May 2020 issues on Universal Health could have proved useful to those aspirants who covered it, thus proving the importance of Yojana in your preparation.
  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources: Question on National Education Policy 2020 was one of the most expected questions this year due to the importance of the issue and could have been easily dealt with by serious aspirants.
  • Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures: As 2020 marked the occasion of completion of the 15 years of Right to Information (RTI) Act and government coming out with amendments in the act, question on this topic was much expected. This section should be read along with recent developments in news and the 11th Report of 2nd ARC Promoting eGovernance : The Smart Way Forward.
    • Another question from this section was on the link between Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) in initiating e-Governance thus again  proving the necessity of integrating current developments with your static preparation.
  • India and its Neighborhood- Relations: ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)’ and ‘Stability in Indo-Pacific region’ were 2 major recurring themes in the current events relating to International Relations throughout 2020. As the issues relating to these 2 topics are constantly evolving even now, the topics can prove to be important for next year mains too.

Overall, the paper was quite on expected lines, students are advised to remain stick to core of syllabus in their due course of preparation keeping focus on current developments.

All the best


GS Paper-1 Full Analysis                                                                                                                                                          GS Paper-3 Full Analysis