On 10th January 2021, UPSC Conducted General Studies 3 and General Studies 4 Paper for Civil Services Mains Examination 2020. 

Total Marks 250 each for GS 3 and GS 4 

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 3 Paper Comprises of following sections: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management



Q1. Explain intra-generational and inter-generational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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?

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

Q20. Analyze 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.

Analysis of GS 3  Paper: 

  • Overall the paper was on expected lines. The coverage was comprehensive spanning across the syllabus covering questions from almost every section of GS 3  syllabus.
  • No question came from  Government Budgeting, Land Reforms in India, Investment Models and Infrastructure, Cropping Patterns sections this year though.

Questions were asked from portions like:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment:  The question on  potential GDP and  its determinants came from this section. 
  • Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it: The question on inclusive growth and sustainable development that came from this section was similar to the 2019 question.
    • Q. It is argued that the strategy of inclusive growth is intended to meet the objectives of inclusiveness and sustainability together. Comment on this statement. (Answer in 250 words)
  • Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System - Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing: The question on main constraints in transport and marketing of Agricultural produce could had been easily attempted if the student had prepared the basics of this topic. 
  • Food Processing and Related Industries in India- Scope’ and Significance, Location, Upstream and Downstream Requirements, Supply Chain Management: The question on challenges and opportunities of the food processing sector came from this section. 
  • Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life: Given the many developments due to COVID-19, the question  on technologies advancements for  management of pandemic was expected. 
  • Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment:  
    • Two questions- ‘National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)’ and ‘deriving electric energy from sunlight’ came from this section. Preparing government programmes on the environment assumes importance in this respect.
    • Many schemes were launched by both Union and state governments this past year, hence the question on measures to improve water storage and irrigation systems.
  • Disaster and Disaster Management:  The recent measures initiated in disaster management by the Government of India was covered by many newspapers and magazines.
  • Linkages between Development and Spread of Extremism: Preparing previous year questions is very important for students as questions from Left wing extremism topics have been repeatedly asked by UPSC.
    • Q. Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country, briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE. (Answer in 150 words) (2018-Paper III)
  • Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas - Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism: The question on security threats and transborder crimes along Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan borders was asked from this section.

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

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