Published on: January 8, 2022

UPSC MAINS 2021

UPSC MAINS 2021

ESSAY

Write two essays, choosing one topic from each of the following Sections A and B, in about 1000-1200 words each:

Section A

1. The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced.

2. Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.

3. Philosophy of wantlessness is Utopian, while materialism is a chimera.

4. The real is rational and the rational is real.

Section B

5. Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

6. What is research, but a blind date with knowledge!

7. History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

8. There are better practices to “best practices”.

GENERAL STUDIES PAPER – 1

Instructions :

There are Twenty questions
All questions are compulsory.
Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

Q1. Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Literature and its contribution to  Indian culture. (Answer in 150 words)

Q2. Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj. (Answer in 150 words)

Q3. Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States. (Answer in 150 words)

Q4. Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats. (Answer in 150 words)

Q5. Despite India being one of the countries of the Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in percentage. Discuss.(Answer in 150 words)

Q6. what are the environmental implications of the reclamation of the water bodies into urban land use? Explain with examples. (Answer in 150 words)

Q7. Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment. (Answer in 150 words)

Q8. Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer. (Answer in 150 words)

Q9. Examine the uniqueness of tribal knowledge system when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems. (Answer in 150 words)

Q10. Examine the role of ‘Gig Economy’ in the process of empowerment of women in India. (Answer in 150 words)

Q11. To what extent did the role of the moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment. (Answer in 250 words)

Q12. Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (Answer in 250 words)

Q13. ” There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement. (Answer in 250 words)

Q14. Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples. (Answer in 250 words)

Q15. How do the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain. (Answer in 250 words)

Q16. Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world. (Answer in 250 words)

Q17. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (Answer in 250 words)

Q18. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (Answer in 250 words)

Q19. What is Cryptocurrency? How does it affect global society? Has it been affecting Indian society also?(Answer in 250 words)

Q20. How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it.(Answer in 250 words)

GENERAL STUDIES PAPER – 2

Instructions :

There are Twenty questions
All questions are compulsory.
Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

Q1. ‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‘Constitutional Morality’ with the help of relevant judicial decisions. (Answer in 150 words)

Q2. Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness. (Answer in 150 words)

Q3. How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the states to improve their fiscal position?(Answer in 150 words)

Q4. To what extent, in your view, the Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India? (Answer in 150 words)

Q5. “Pressure groups play a vital role in influencing public policy making in India.” Explain how the business associations contribute to public policies. (Answer in 150 words)

Q6. “Besides being a moral imperative of Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary pre-condition for sustainable development.” Analyze. (Answer in 150 words)

Q7. “‘Earn while you learn’ scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful.” Comment. (Answer in 150 words)

Q8. Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. (Answer in 150 words)

Q9. “If the last few decades were of Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be of Africa’s.” In the light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years. (Answer in 150 words)

Q10. “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of a China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (Answer in 150 words)

Q11. The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) regarding lodging an FIR and conducting probe within a particular state is being questioned by various States. However, the power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute. Explain with special reference to the federal character of India. (Answer in 250 words)

Q12. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (Answer in 250 words)

Q13. Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (Answer in 250 words)

Q14. Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations. (Answer in 250 words)

Q15. Do Department -related Parliamentary Standing Committees keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control? Evaluate the working of such committees with suitable examples. (Answer in 250 words)

Q16. Has digital illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, couple with lack of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) accessibility hindered socio-economic development? Examine with justification. (Answer in 250 words)

Q17. “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (Answer in 250 words)

Q18. Can Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations present an alternative model of public service delivery to benefit the common citizen. Discuss the challenges of this alternative model. (Answer in 250 words)

Q19. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India. (Answer in 250 words)

Q20. The newly tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strenght and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario. (Answer in 250 words)

GENERAL STUDIES PAPER – 3

Instructions :

There are Twenty questions
All questions are compulsory.
Answers to questions no. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to questions no. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

Q.1) Explain the difference between computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. (Answer in 150 words)

Q.2) Distinguish between Capital Budget and Revenue Budget. Explain the components of both these Budgets. (Answer in 150 words)

Q.3) How did land reforms in some parts of the country help to improve the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers? (Answer in 150 words)

Q.4) How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (Answer in 150 words)

Q.5) How is the S-400 air defence system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world? (Answer in 150 words)

Q.6) Explain the purpose of the Green Grid Initiative launched at the World Leaders Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. When was this idea first floated in the International solar Alliance (ISA) (Answer in 150 words)

Q.7) Describe the key points of the revised Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) recently released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). How are these different from its last update in 2005? What changes in India’s National Clean Air Programme are required to achieve these revised standards? (Answer in 150 words)

Q.8) Discuss about the vulnerability of India to earthquake related hazards. Give examples including the salient features of major disasters caused by earthquakes in different parts of India during the last three decades. (Answer in 150 words)

Q.9) Discuss how emerging technologies and globalization contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels. (Answer in 150 words)

Q.10) Keeping in view India’s Internal Security, analyze the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks (Answer in 150 words)

Q.11) Do you agree that the Indian Economy has recently experienced a V-shaped recovery? Give reason in support of your answer. (Answer in 250 words)

Q.12) “Investment in Infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth.” Discuss in the light of India’s experience. (Answer in 250 words)

Q.13) What are the salient features of the national food security act, 2013? How has the food security bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India? (Answer in 250 words)

Q.14) What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification? (Answer in 250 words)

Q.15) What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of society? (Answer in 250 words)

Q.16) The Nobel prize in Physics of 2014 was jointly awarded to Akasaki, Amano, and Nakamura for the invention of blue LEDs in 1990s. How has this invention impacted the everyday life of human beings? (Answer in 250 words)

Q.17) Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the conference of the parties(COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (Answer in 250 words)

Q.18) Describe the various causes and effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (Answer in 250 words)

Q.19) Analyze the multidimensional challenges posed by the external state and non-state actors, to the internal security of India. Also discuss measures required to be taken to combat these threats. (Answer in 250 words)

Q.20) Analyze the complexity and intensity of terrorism, its causes, linkages and obnoxious nexus. Also suggest measures required to be taken to eradicate the menace of terrorism. (Answer in 250 words)

GENERAL STUDIES PAPER – 4

Instructions :

All questions are compulsory.

SECTION A

(a) Discuss the role of ethics and values in enhancing the following three major components of Comprehensive National Power (CNP) viz. human capital, soft power (culture and policies) and social harmony. (150 words)

(b) “Education is not an injunction, it is an effective and pervasive tool for all round development of an individual and social transformation”. Examine the New Education Policy, 2020 (NEP, 2020) in light of the above statement. (150 words)

(a) “Hatred is destructive of a person’s wisdom and conscience that can poison a nation’s spirit.’ Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer. (150 words)

(b) What are the main components of emotional intelligence (EI)? Can they be learned? Discuss. (150 words)

(а) What teachings of Buddha are most relevant today and why? Discuss. (150 words)

(b) “The will to power exists, but it can be tamed and be guided by rationality and principles of moral duty.’ Examine this statement in the context of international relations. (150 words)

(a) Distinguish between laws and rules. Discuss the role of ethics in formulating them (150 words)

(b) A positive attitude is considered to be an essential characteristic of a civil servant who is often required to function under extreme stress. What contributes to a positive attitude in a person? (150 words)

(a) What are the main factors responsible for gender inequality in India? Discuss the contribution of Savitribai Phule in this regard. (150 words)

(b) “The current internet expansion has instilled a different set of cultural values which are often in conflict with traditional values.’ Discuss. (150 words)

What do each of the following quotations mean to you?

(а) “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If not, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.” – Swami Vivekanand (150 words)

(b) “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi (150 words)

(с) “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” – Socrates (150 words)

SECTION B

Rajesh Kumar is a senior public servant, with a reputation of honesty and forthrightness, currently posted in the Finance Ministry as Head of the Budget Division. His department is presently busy in organising the budgetary support to the states, four of which are due to go to the polls within the financial year.
This year’s annual budget had allotted 78300 crores for National Housing Scheme (NHS), a centrally sponsored social housing scheme for the weaker sections of society. 775 crores have been drawn for NHS till June.

The Ministry of Commerce had long been pursuing a case for setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a southern state to boost exports. After two years of detailed discussions between the centre and state, the Union Cabinet approved the project in August. Process was initiated to acquire the necessary land.

Eighteen months ago, a leading Public Sector Unit (PSU) had projected the need for setting up a large natural gas processing plant in a northern state for the regional gas grid. The required land is already in possession of the PSU. The gas grid is an essential component of the national energy security strategy. After three rounds of global bidding the project was allotted to an MNC, M/s XYZ Hydrocarbons. The first tranche of payment to the MNC is scheduled to be made in December.

Finance Ministry was asked for a timely allocation of an additional 6000 crores for these two developmental projects. It was decided to recommend re-appropriation of this entire amount from the NHS allocation. The file was forwarded to Budget Department for their comments and further processing. On studying the case file, Rajesh Kumar realized that this re-appropriation may cause inordinate delay in the execution of NHS, a project much publicized in the rallies of senior politicians. Correspondingly, non-availability of finances would cause financial loss in the SEZ and national embarrassment due to delayed payment in an international project.

Rajesh Kumar discussed the matter with his seniors. He was conveyed that this politically sensitive situation needs to be processed immediately. Rajesh Kumar realized that diversion of funds. from NHS could raise difficult questions for the government in the Parliament.

Discuss the following with reference to this case:

Ethical issues involved in re-appropriation of funds from a welfare project to the developmental projects.
Given the need for proper utilization of public funds, discuss the options available to Rajesh Kumar. Is resigning a worthy option? (250 words)

The Chairman of Bharat Missiles Ltd (BML) was watching a program on TV wherein the Prime Minister was addressing the nation on the necessity of developing a self-reliant India. He subconsciously nodded in agreement and smiled to himself as he mentally reviewed BML’s journey in the past two decades. BML had admirably progressed from producing first generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMS) to designing and producing state of the art ATGM weapon systems that would be the envy of any army. He sighed in reconciliation with his assumptions that the government would probably not alter the status quo of a ban on export of military weaponry.
To his surprise, the very next day he got a telephone call from the Director General, Ministry of Defence, asking him to discuss the modalities of increasing BML production of ATGMS as there is a possibility of exporting the same to a friendly foreign country. The Director General wanted the Chairman to discuss the details with his staff at Delhi next week.

Two days later, at a press conference, the Defence Minister stated that he aims to double the current weapons export levels within five years. This would give an impetus to financing the development and manufacture of indigenous weapons in the country. He also stated that all indigenous arms manufacturing nations have a very good record of international arms trade. As Chairman of BML, what are your views on the following points?

As an arms exporter of a responsible nation like India, what are the ethical issues involved arms trade?
List five ethical factors that would influence the decision to sell arms to foreign governments. (250 words)

Rampura, a remote district inhabited by a tribal population, is marked by extreme backwardness and abject poverty. Agriculture is the mainstay of the local population, though it is primarily subsistence due to the very small land holdings. There is insignificant industrial or mining activity. Even the targeted welfare programs have inadequately benefited the tribal population. In this restrictive scenario, the youth has begun to migrate to other states to supplement the family income. Plight of minor girls is that their parents are persuaded by labour contractors to send them to work in the Bt Cotton farms of a nearby state. The soft fingers of the minor girls are well suited for plucking the cotton. The inadequate living and working conditions in these farms have caused serious health issues for the minor girls. NGOS in the districts of domicile and the cotton farms appear to be compromised and have not effectively espoused the twin issues of child labour and development of the area.
You are appointed as the District Collector of Rampura. Identify the ethical issues involved. Which specific steps will you initiate to ameliorate the conditions of minor girls of your district and to improve the over-all economic scenario in the district? (250 words)20

You are a municipal commissioner of a large city, having the reputation of a very honest and upright officer. A huge multipurpose mall is under construction in your city in which a large number of daily wage earners are employed. One night, during monsoons, a big chunk of the roof collapsed causing instant death of four labourers including two minors. Many more were seriously injured requiring immediate medical attention. The mishap resulted in a big hue and cry, forcing the government to institute an enquiry.
Your preliminary enquiry has revealed a series of anomalies. The material used for the construction was of poor quality. Despite the approved building plans permitting only one basement, an additional basement has been constructed. This was overlooked during the periodic inspections by the building inspector of. The municipal corporation. In your enquiry, you noticed that the construction of the mall was given the green signal despite encroaching on areas earmarked for a green belt and a slip road in the Zonal Master Plan of the city. The permission to construct the mall was accorded by the previous Municipal Commissioner who is not only your senior and well known to you professionally, but also a good friend.

Prima facie, the case appears to be of a widespread nexus between officials of the Municipal Corporation and the builders. Your colleagues are putting pressure on you to go slow in the enquiry. The builder, who is rich and influential, happens to be a close relative of a powerful minister in the state cabinet. The builder is persuading you to hush up the matter, promising you a fortune to do so. He also hinted that this matter is not resolved at the earliest in his favour there is somebody in his office who is waiting to file a case against you under the POSH Act.

Discuss the ethical issues involved in the case. What are the options available to you in this situation? Explain your selected course of action. (250 words)

Parmal is a small but underdeveloped district. It has rocky terrain that is not suitable for agriculture, though some subsistence agriculture is being done on small plots of land. The area receives adequate rainfall and has an irrigation canal flowing through it. Amria, its administrative centre, is a medium sized town. It houses a large district hospital, an Industrial Training Institute and some privately owned skill training centres. It has all the facilities of a district headquarters. A trunk railway line passes approximately 50 kilometres from Amria. Its poor connectivity is a major reason for the absence of any major industry therein. The state government offers a 10 years tax holiday as an incentive to new industry.
In 2010 Anil, an industrialist, decided to take benefits to set up Amria Plastic Works (APW) in Noora village, about 20 km from Amria. While the factory was being built, Anil hired the required key labour and got them trained at the skill training centres at Amria. This act of his made the key personnel very loyal to APW.

APW started production in 2011 with the labour drawn fully from Noora village. The villagers were very happy to get employment near their homes and were motivated by the key personnel to meet the production targets with high quality. APW started making large profits, a sizeable portion of which was used to improve the quality of life in Noora. By 2016, Noora could boast of a greener village and a renovated village temple. Anil liaised with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria. The government also opened a primary health care centre and primary school at Noora in buildings constructed by APW. APW used its CSR funds to set up women’s self-help groups, subsidize primary education to the village children and procure an ambulance for use by its employees and the needy.

In 2019, there was a minor fire in APW It was quickly extinguished as fire safety protocols were in place in the factory. Investigations revealed that the factory had been using electricity in excess of its authorized capacity. This was soon rectified. The next year, due to a nationwide lockdown, the requirement of production fell for four months. Anil decided that all employees would be paid regularly. He employed them to plant trees and improve the village habitat. APW had developed a reputation of high-quality production and a motivated workforce.

Critically analyse the story of APW and state the ethical issues involved. Do you consider APW as a role model for development of backward areas? Give reasons. (250 words)

Migrant workers have always remained at the socio-economic margins of our society, silently serving as the instrumental labour force of urban economics. The pandemic has brought them into national focus.
On announcement of a countrywide lockdown, a very large number of migrant workers decided to move back from their places of employment to their native villages. The non-availability of transport created its own problems. Added to this was the fear of starvation and inconvenience to their families. This caused, the migrant workers to demand wages and transport facilities for returning to their villages. Their mental agony was accentuated by multiple factors such as a sudden loss of livelihood, possibility of lack of food and inability to assist in harvesting their rabi crop due to not being able to reach home in time. Reports of inadequate response of some districts in providing the essential boarding and lodging arrangements along the way multiplied their fears.

You have leant many lessons from this situation when you were tasked to oversee the functioning of the District Disaster Relief Force in your district. In your opinion what ethical issues arose in the current migrant crisis? What do you understand by an ethical care giving state? What assistance can the civil society render to mitigate 2 the sufferings of migrants in similar situations? (250 words)