Topic Wise UPSC Mains Questions

by Vajiram & Ravi


07:10 AM

This compilation serves as a valuable resource for aspirants aiming to conquer the formidable UPSC Mains examination, offering a structured and focused approach to their preparation. Below here is a comprehensive breakdown of UPSC Mains previous year questions meticulously organized by their respective topics.

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Topic Wise UPSC Mains Questions PDF

Candidates preparing for the CSE Mains examination extensively study these topic-wise UPSC Mains questions to gain a deeper insight into the subject matter and develop a structured approach to answer them effectively within the allotted time frame. Download the GS papers 1 to 4 questions PDF segregated into topics and subtopics from the links below.

Modern History


Question 1: What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? (10M)

Question 2: How did the colonial rule affect the tribals in India and what was the tribal response to the colonial oppression? (15M)


Question 3: Why did the armies of the British East India Company – mostly comprising of Indian soldiers – win consistently against the more numerous and better-equipped armies of the Indian rulers? Give reasons. (10M)

Question 4: Why was there a sudden spurt in famines in colonial India since the mid-eighteenth century? Give reasons. (10M)

Question 5: The political and administrative reorganization of states and territories has been a continuous ongoing process since the mid-nineteenth century. Discuss with examples. (15M)


Question 6: Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj. (10M)

Question 7: Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States. (10M)

Question 8: To what extent did the role of the moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment. (15M)

Question 9: Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during the Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (15M)



Question 1: Discuss the consequences of climate change on food security in tropical countries. (10M)

Question 2: Why is the world today confronted with a crisis of availability of and access to freshwater resources? (10M)

Question 3: How are the fjords formed? Why do they constitute some of the most picturesque areas of the world? (10M)

Question 4: Why is the South-West monsoon called ‘Purvaiya’ (easterly) in the Bhojpur Region? How has this directional seasonal wind system influenced the cultural ethos of the region? (10M)

Question 5: Comment on the resource potentials of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in these areas. (15M)

Question 6: Identify and discuss the factors responsible for diversity of natural vegetation in India. Assess the significance of wildlife sanctuaries in rain forests regions of India. (15M)

Question 7: Why did human development fail to keep pace with economic development in India? (15M)

Question 8: From being net food importer in 1960s, India has emerged as a net food exporter to the world. Provide reasons. (15M)


Question 9: Describe the characteristics and types of primary rocks. (10M)

Question 10: Discuss the meaning of colour-coded weather warnings for cyclone prone areas given by India Meteorological department. (10M)

Question 11: Discuss the natural resource potentials of ‘Deccan trap’. (10M)

Question 12: Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread. (10M)

Question 13:  Mention the significance of straits and isthmus in international trade. (15M)

Question 14: Troposphere is a very significant atmospheric layer that determines weather processes. How?(15M)

Question 15: What are the forces that influence ocean currents? Describe their role in fishing industry of the world.(15M)

Question 16: Describing the distribution of rubber-producing countries, indicate the major environmental issues faced by them. (15M)


Question 17: Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats. (10M)

Question 18: 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. (10M)

Question 19: Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment. (10M)

Question 20: Why is India considered as a sub-continent? Elaborate your answer. (10M)

Question 21: Briefly mention the alignment of major mountain ranges of the world and explain their impact on local weather conditions, with examples. (15M)

Question 22: 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. (15M)

Question 23: Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world. (15M)

Question 24: What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (15M)

Art and Culture


Question 1: What are the main features of Vedic society and religion? Do you think some of the features are still prevailing in Indian society? (15M)

Question 2: What were the major technological changes introduced during the Sultanate period? How did those technological changes influence the Indian society? (15M)

Question 3: Explain the role of geographical factors towards the development of Ancient India. (10M)


Question 4: How will you explain the medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days? (10M)

Question 5: Discuss the main contributions of Gupta period and Chola period to Indian heritage and culture. (15M)

Question 6: Discuss the significance of the lion and bull figures in Indian mythology, art and architecture. (15M)


Question 7: Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture. (10M)



Question 1: “Constitutionally guaranteed judicial independence is a prerequisite of democracy”. Comment. (10M)

Question 2: “The states in India seem reluctant to empower urban local bodies both functionally as well as financially.” Comment. (10M)

Question 3: Compare and contrast the British and Indian approaches to Parliamentary sovereignty. (10M)

Question 4: Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices. (10M)

Question 5: ”The Construction of India is a living instrument with capabilities of enormous dynamism. It is a constitution made for a progressive society”. Illustrate with special reference to the expanding horizons of the right to life and personal liberty. (15M)

Question 6: Account for the legal and political factors responsible for the reduced frequency of using Article 356 by the Union Governments since mid-1990s. (15M)

Question 7: Explain the significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act. To what extent does it reflect the accommodative spirit of federalism? (15M)

Question 8: Explain the structure of the Parliamentary Committee system. How far have the financial committees helped in the institutionalization of Indian Parliament? (15M)


Question 9: Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected. (15M)

Question 10: “The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws. (10M)

Question 11: “Right of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are freely available to the Indian citizens, but these rights are not absolute. “ Comment. (10M)

Question 12: Discuss the role of the Vice-Presidents of India as the chairman of the Rajyasabha. (10M)

Question 13: Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision? Refer to the case laws. (15M)

Question 14: Discuss the essential conditions for exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of the re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (15M)

Question 15: While the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment. (15M)

Question 16: Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (15M)


Question 17: ‘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. (10M)

Question 18: How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the states to improve their fiscal position? (10M)

Question 19: To what extent, in your view, the Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India? (10M)

Question 20: 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. (15M)

Question 21: 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. (15M)

Question 22: Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations. (15M)

Question 23: 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. (15M)

Question 24: Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (15M)



Question 1: The crucial aspect of the development process has been the inadequate attention paid to Human Resource Development in India. Suggest measures that can address this adequacy. (10M)

Question 2: Discuss the role of the Competition Commission of India in containing the abuse of dominant position by the Multi-National Corporations in India. Refer to the recent decisions.

e-governance, as a critical tool of governance, has ushered in effectiveness, transparency and accountability in governments. What inadequacies hamper the enhancement of these features? (10M)

Question 3: Discuss the contribution of civil society groups for women’s effective and meaningful participation and representation in state legislatures in India. (15M)

Question 4: “Development and welfare schemes for the vulnerable, by its nature, are discriminatory in approach.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. (15M)

Question 5: Skill development programs have succeeded in increasing human resources supply to various sectors. In the context of the statement, analyze the linkages between education, skill and employment. (15M)


Question 6: To what extent, in your opinion, as the decentralisation of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots? (10M)

Question 7: The Gati-Shakti Yojana needs meticulous coordination between the government and the private sector to achieve the goal of connectivity. Discuss. (10M)

Question 8: Reforming the government delivery system through the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is a progressive step, but it has its limitations too. Comment. (10M)

Question 9: Besides the welfare schemes, India needs deft management of inflation and unemployment to serve the poor and the underprivileged sections of society. Discuss. (15M)

Question 10: Do you agree with the view that increasing dependence on donor agencies for development reduces the importance of community participation in the development process? Justify your answer. (15M)


Question 11: “Besides being a moral imperative of Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary pre-condition for sustainable development.” Analyze. (10M)

Question 12: "Earn while you learn’ scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful.” Comment. (10M)

Question 13: “Pressure groups play a vital role in influencing public policy making in India.” Explain how the business associations contribute to public policies. (10M)

Question 14: Has digital illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, couple with lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility hindered socio-economic development? Examine with justification. (15M)

Question 15: 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. (15M)

International Relations


Question 1: Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India. (10M)

Question 2: ‘The expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership works well in India.’ What is your opinion about this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your answer. (15M)

Question 3: ‘Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’. Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) in protecting environment and enhancing maritime safety and security. (15M)

Question 4: ‘Virus of Conflict is affecting the functioning of the SCO’. In the light of the above statement point out the role of India in mitigating problems. (10M)


Question 5: India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in light of the preceding statement. (10M)

Question 6: Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organisation like the SAARC? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two? How are Indian foreign policy objectives realized by forming this new organisation? (10M)

Question 7: How will 12U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics? (15M)

Question 8: Clean energy is the order of the day.’ Describe briefly India’s changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics. (15M)


Question 9: “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. (10M)

Question 10: “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of a China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain (10M)

Question 11: Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India? (15M)

Question 12: 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 strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario. (15M)

Social Justice


Question 1: Explain the constitutional perspectives of Gender Justice with the help of relevant Constitutional Provisions and case laws. (15M)

Question 2: Who are entitled to receive free legal aid? Assess the role of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in rendering free legal aid in India. (10M)


Question 3: Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body. (10M)

Question 4: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 remains only a legal document without intense sensitisation of government functionaries and citizens regarding disability. Comment. (10M)

Question 5: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains inadequate in promoting incentive-based system for children’s education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse (15M)


Question 6: Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. (10M)

Question 7: “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and the feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (15M)

Question 8: Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness. (10M)

Indian Society


Question 1: Do you think marriage as a sacrament is losing its value in Modern India? (10M)

Question 2: Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian Society. (10M)

Question 3:Child cuddling is now being replaced by mobile phones. Discuss its impact on the socialization of children. (10M)

Question 4: Does urbanization lead to more segregation and/or marginalization of the poor in Indian metropolises? (15M)

Question 5:Why is caste identity in India both fluid and static? (15M)

Question 6: Discuss the impact of post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. (15M)


Question 7: Explore and evaluate the impact of ‘Work From Home’ on family relationships. (10M)

Question 8: How is the growth of Tier 2 cities related to the rise of a new middle class with an emphasis on the culture of consumption? (10M)

Question 9: Given the diversities among the tribal communities in India, in which specific contexts should they be considered as a single category? (10M)

Question 10: Analyze the salience of ‘sect’ in Indian society vis-a-vis caste, region and religion. (15M)

Question 11: Are tolerance, assimilation and pluralism the key elements in the making of an Indian form of secularism? Justify your answer. (15M)

Question 12: Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India. (15M)

World History


Question 1: Bring out the socio-economic effects of the introduction of railways in different countries of the world. (10M)


Question 2: “There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement. (15M)



Question 1: Faster economic growth requires increased share of the manufacturing sector in GDP, particularly of MSMEs. Comment on the present policies of the Government in this regard. (10M)

Question 2: What is the status of digitalization in the Indian economy? Examine the problems faced in this regard and suggest improvements. (10M)

Question 3: How does e-Technology help farmers in production and marketing of agricultural produce? Explain it. (10M)

Question 4: State the objectives and measures of land reforms in India. Discuss how land ceiling policy on landholding can be considered as an effective reform under economic criteria. (10M)

Question 5: Most of the unemployment in India is structural in nature. Examine the methodology adopted to compute unemployment in the country and suggest improvements. (15M)

Question 6: Distinguish between ‘care economy’ and ‘monetized economy’. How can care economy be brought into monetized economy through women empowerment? (15M)

Question 7: Explain the changes in cropping pattern in India in the context of changes in consumption pattern and marketing conditions. (15M)

Question 8: What are the direct and indirect subsidies provided to farm sector in India? Discuss the issues raised by the World Trade Organization(WTP) in relation to agricultural subsidies. (15M)

Question 9: Comment on the National Wetland Conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of international importance included in the Ramsar Sites. (15M)

Question 10: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one metre by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region? (15M)


Question 11: Why is Public Private Partnership (PPP) required in infrastructural projects? Examine the role of PPP model in the redevelopment of Railway Stations in India. (10M)

Question 12: Is inclusive growth possible under market economy? State the significance of financial inclusion in achieving economic growth in India. (10M)

Question 13: What are the major challenges of Public Distribution System (PDS) in India? How can it be made effective and transparent? (10M)

Question 14: Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India. (10M)

Question 15: Economic growth in the recent past has been led by increase in labour activity.” Explain this statement. Suggest the growth pattern that will lead to creation of more jobs without compromising labour productivity. (15M)

Question 16: What are the main bottlenecks in upstream and downstream process of marketing of agricultural products in India? (15M)

Question 17: What is Integrated Farming System? How is it helpful to small and marginal farmers in India? (15M)


Question 18: Explain the difference between computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. (10M)

Question 19: Distinguish between Capital Budget and Revenue Budget. Explain the components of both these Budgets. (10M)

Question 20: How did land reforms in some parts of the country help to improve the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers? (10M)

Question 21: How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (10M)

Question 22: Do you agree that the Indian economy has recently experienced V- shapes recovery? Give reasons in support of your answer. (15M)

Question 23: “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth. ”Discuss in the light of India’s experience. (15M)

Question 24: 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? (15M)

Question 25: What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification? (15M)

Science & Technology


Question 1: Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does AI help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of AI in the healthcare? (10M)

Question 2: Discuss several ways in which microorganisms can help in meeting the current fuel shortage(10M)

Question 3: What is the main task of India’s third mood mission which could not be achieved in its earlier mission? List the countries that have achieved this task. Introduce the subsystems in the spacecraft launched and explain the role of the ‘Virtual Launch Control Centre’ at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre which contributed to the successful launch from Sriharikota. (15M)


Question 4: The increase in life expectancy in the country has led to newer health challenges in the community. What are those challenges and what steps need to be taken to meet them? (10M)

Question 5: Each year a large amount of plant material, cellulose, is deposited on the surface of Planet Earth. What are the natural processes this cellulose undergoes before yielding carbon dioxide, water and other end products? (10M)

Question 6: Launched on 25th December 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has been much in the news since then. What are its unique features which make it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes? What are the key goals of this mission? What potential benefits does it hold for the human race? (15M)

Question 7: What is the basic principle behind vaccine development? How do vaccines work? What approaches were adopted by the Indian vaccine manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines? (15M)


Question 8: How is S-400 air defence system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world? (10M)

Question 9: What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology/? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the society? (15M)

Question 10: 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? (15M)



Question 1: Winning of ‘Hearts and Minds’ in terrorism affected areas is an essential step in restoring the trust of the population. Discuss the measures adopted by the Government in this respect as part of the conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir. (10M)

Question 2: The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by our adversaries across the borders to ferry arms/ammunitions, drugs, etc., is a serious threat to internal security. Comment on the measures being taken to tackle this threat. (10M)

Question 3: What are the internal security challenges being faced by India? Give out the role of Central Intelligence and Investigative Agencies tasked to counter such threats. (15M)

Question 4: Give out the major sources of terror funding in India and efforts being made to curtail these sources. In light of this, also discuss the aim and objective of the ‘ No Money for Terror [NMFT]’ Conference recently held at New Delhi in November 2022. (15M)


Question 5: Discuss the types of organised crimes. Describe the linkages between terrorists and organised crime that exist at the national and transnational levels. (10M)

Question 6: What are the maritime security challenges in India? Discuss the organisational, technical and procedural initiatives taken to improve the maritime security. (10M)

Question 7: What are the different elements of cyber security? Keeping in view the challenges in cyber security, examine the extent to which India has successfully developed a comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy. (15M)

Question 8: Naxalism is a social, economic and developmental issue manifesting as a violent internal security threat. In this context, discuss the emerging issues gest a multilayered strategy to tackle the menace of Naxalism. (15M)


Question 9: Discuss how emerging technologies and globalisation contribute to money laundering. Elaborate measures to tackle the problem of money laundering both at national and international levels. (10M)

Question 10: Keeping in view India’s internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also, discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks. (10M)

Question 11: Analyse the multidimensıonal challenges posed by external state and non-state actors, to the internal security of India. Also, discuss measures required to be taken to combat these threats. (15M)

Question 12: Analyse the complexity and intensity of terrorism, its causes, linkages and obnoxious nexus. Also suggests measures required to be taken to eradicate the menace of terrorism. (15M)



Question 1: What is oil pollution? What are its impacts on the marine ecosystem? In what way is oil pollution particularly harmful for a country like India? (10M)

Question 2: The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles? (15M)


Question 1: Discuss in detail the photochemical smog emphasizing its formation, effects and mitigation. Explain the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol. (10M)

Question 2: Explain the mechanism and occurrence of cloudburst in the context of the Indian subcontinent. Discuss two recent examples. (10M)

Question 3: Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective? Explain. (15M)

Question 4: Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. (15M)


Question 1: 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)? (10M)

Question 2: 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? (10M)

Question 3: Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (15M)

Disaster and Disaster Management


Question 1: Dam failures are always catastrophic, especially on the downstream side, resulting in a colossal loss of life and property. Analyze the various causes of dam failures. Give two examples of large dam failures. (10M)


Question 1: Explain the causes and effects of coastal erosion in India. What are the available coastal management techniques for combating the hazard? (15M)


Question 1: 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. (10M)

Question 2: Describe the various causes and the effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (15M)

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude


Question 1:

(a) What do you understand by ‘moral integrity’ and ‘professional efficiency in the context of corporate governance in India? Illustrate with suitable examples. (10M)

(b) ‘International aid’ is an accepted form of helping ‘resource-challenged’ nations. Comment on ‘ethics in contemporary international aid’. Support your answer with suitable examples." (10M)

Question 2: (a) “Corruption is the manifestation of the failure of core values in the society.” In your opinion, what measures can be adopted to uplift the core values in the society? (10M)

(b) In the context of work environment, differentiate between ‘coercion’ and ‘undue influence’ with suitable examples." (10M)

Question 3: "Given below are the three quotations of great thinkers. What do each of these quotations convey to you in the present context?

Question 4: (a) What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ- not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” Do you agree with this view? Give reasons in support of your answer. (10M)

(b) Differentiate ‘moral intuition from ‘moral reasoning’ with suitable examples. (10M)

Question 5: (a) Is conscience a more reliable guide when compared to laws, rules and regulations in the context of ethical decision-making? Discuss. (10M)

(b) ‘Probity is essential for an effective system of governance and socio-economic development.’ Discuss.(10M)

Question 6: (a) What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world. (10M)

(b) Explain the term social capital. How does it enhance good governance? (10M)


Question 1: "(a) Wisdom lies in knowing what to reckon with and what to overlook. An officer being engrossed with the periphery, ignoring the core issues before him, is no rare in the bureaucracy. Do you agree that such preoccupation of an administrator leads to travesty of justice to the cause of effective service delivery and good governance? Critically evaluate. (10M)

(b) Apart from intellectual competency and moral qualities, empathy and compassion are some of the other vital attributes that facilitate the civil servants to be more competent in tackling the crucial issues or taking critical decisions. Explain with suitable illustrations." (10M)

Question 2: "(a) The Rules and Regulations provided to all the civil servants are same, yet there is difference in the performance. Positive minded officers are able to interpret the Rules and Regulations in favour of the case and achieve success, whereas negative minded officers are unable to achieve goals by interpreting the same Rules and Regulations against the case. Discuss with illustrations. (10M)

(b) It is believed that adherence to ethics in human actions would ensure in smooth functioning of an organization/system. If so, what does ethics seek to promote in human life? How do ethical values assist in the resolution of conflicts faced by him in his day-to-day functioning?" (10M)

Question 3: (a) Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.’-Potter Stewart . (10M)

(b) “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” – Abdul Kalam. (10M)

(c) “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”- Dalai Lama. (10M)

Question 4: "(a) What do you understand by term ‘good governance’? How far recent initiatives in terms of e-Governance steps taken by the State have helped the beneficiaries? Discuss with suitable examples. (10M)

(b)Online methodology is being used for day-to-day meetings, institutional approvals in the administration and for teaching and learning in education sector to the extent telemedicine in the health sector is getting popular with the approvals of the competent authority. No doubt it has advantages and disadvantages for both the beneficiaries and system at large. Describe and discuss the ethical issues involved in the use of online method particularly to vulnerable section of society." (10M)

Question 5: "(a) Russia and Ukraine war has been going on for the last seven months. Different countries have taken independent stands and actions keeping in view their own national interests. We are all aware that war has its own impact on the different aspects of society, including human tragedy. What are those ethical issues that are crucial to be considered while launching the war and its continuation so far? Illustrate with justification the ethical issues involved in the given state of affair. (10M)

(b) Write short notes on the following in 30 words each : (10M)

 (i) Constitutional morality

 (ii) Conflict of interest

 (iii) Probity in public life

 (iv) Challenges of digitalization

 (v) Devotion to duty"

Question 6: "(a) Whistle blower, who reports corruption and illegal activities, wrongdoing and misconduct to the concerned authorities, runs the risk of being exposed to grave danger, physical harm and victimization by the vested interests, accused persons and his team. What policy measures would you suggest to strengthen protection mechanism to safeguard the whistle blower? (10M)

(b) In contemporary world, corporate sector’s contribution in generating wealth and employment is increasing. In doing so, they are bringing in unprecedented onslaught on the climate, environmental sustainability and living conditions of human beings. In this background, do you Responsibility (CSR) is efficient and sufficient enough to fulfill the social roles and responsibilities needed in the corporate work mandated? Critically examine." (10M)


Question 1: "(a) Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix. (10M)

(b) Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describ the /ways and means to prevent non-ethical behaviour in the pubic servants." (10M)

Question 2: "(a) Impact of digital technology as reliable source of input for rational decision-making is debatable issue. Critically evaluate with suitable example. (10M)

(b) Besides domain knowledge, a public official needs innovativeness and creativity of a high order as well, while resolving ethical dilemmas. Discuss with suitable example." (10M)

Question 3: "What does each of the following quotations mean to you?

(a) “Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later. - Swami Vivekananda (10M)

(b) “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until and unless we obtain peace within ourselves.” – Dalai Lama (10M)

(c) Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, it is better for us all.” -Erik Erikson word" (10M)

Question 4: (a) Attitude is an important component that goes as input in the elopement of human. How to build a suitable attitude needed for a public servant? (10M)

(b) In case of crisis of conscience does emotional intelligence help to overcome the same without compromising the ethical or moral stand that you are likely to follow? Critically examine."(10M)

Question 5: "(a) “Refugees should not be turned back to the country where they would face persecution or human right violation.” Examine the statement with reference to ethical dimension being violated by the nation claiming to be democratic with open society. (10M)

(b) Should impartial and being non-partisan be considered as indispensable qualities to make a successful civil servant? Discuss with illustrations." (10M)

Question 6: "(a) An independent and empowered social audit mechanism is an absolute must in every sphere of public service, including judiciary, to ensure performance, accountability and ethical conduct. Elaborate. (10M)

(b) “Integrity is a value that empowers the human being.” Justify with suitable illustration." (10M)

Note: Case Studies questions can be downloaded from the above GS 4 PYQs PDF.


How to make topic wise notes for UPSC Mains?

To create effective topic-wise notes for UPSC Mains, start by thoroughly understanding the exam syllabus. Choose reliable sources like standard books and government reports for each subject. Break down subjects into manageable subtopics and summarize key points using bullet points and visual aids. Connect concepts across subjects for a holistic understanding. Lastly, revise and update your notes regularly for better retention and comprehension.

Does UPSC repeat questions in Mains?

Yes, UPSC does repeat questions in mains, especially in subjects like History, Geography, Polity, and Environment. Analyzing previous year papers can provide valuable insights into recurring themes and topics.

Which is the toughest subject in UPSC Mains?

The perception of the toughest subject varies from candidate to candidate based on their background and interests. However, subjects like General Studies Paper III (which includes Economics, Environment, Science and Tech) and Optional subjects like Mathematics or Philosophy are often considered challenging due to their technical nature and depth of content.