GS 1 paper this year was probably one of the easiest papers ever. It had just one question which was totally based on the information the candidate might be having of a specific topic. Rest all the questions were easy to think about and create an answer for. The key was to keep the answers relevant and contemporary. As I have emphasized multiple times, the key difference between the selected and rejected candidates in this paper going to be the depth of analysis and the freshness of analysis. Anyone, who has been in touch with news and has an analytical, unbiased mind with score heavy in this paper.
Below are the questions for your reference :

Question Complexity Fact orientation Analysis Key Scoring Point
‘Women’s movement in India has not addresses the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (15)HighLowThis is an opinon based question, where you can take your stand. If agreeing, you must tell how women's movement been initiated by upper caste and upper class women.You can refer to the recent Me Too campaigns, which only catered women who were educated and had internet access. Social media visibility is driving the women's issues but they are not accessible to all.
The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss. (15)LowMediumBhakti Movement was made more inclusive and demonstrable by him. He emphasized on chanting.Writing skills. Use proper structure and outline the changes brought in by Chaitanya.
Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment (10)LowLowImportance of Indian heritage in today's world. How heritage can help in creating rootedness.Writing skills. List some recent projects initiated for the preservation of heritage.
Discuss whether formation of new states in recent times is beneficial or not for the economy of India. (15)MediumHighUse only recent states. Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Telangana. Show administrative, developmental, Law and order situation of them and comment.Write in pointers based on the examples of at least one of the new states. Each point should have at least one state as example. Give a balanced conclusion with a recommendation for future.
‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation.’ Argue by giving suitable illustrations. (15)LowLowPower struggle is about the hegemony of one thought process that will lead to communalism. Relative deprivation will lead to thought of endangerment of a community, again creating communalism.Recent examples of both the kinds will fetch really good marks.
Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India. (10)LowHighHow they altered the way history was perceived. What they added to the historical awereness.Pointing out their addition to the history.
Why is India taking keen interest in the Arctic region? (10)MediumMediumMineral stock in Arctic region. Geopolitics as Russia, China already comepeting for prevelance in the zone.Mention the importance of minerals in goepolitics of today. Explain the stocks of minerals in Arctic. How other countries getting a hold will put India behind in the relative importance.
How the Indian concept of secularism different from the western model of secularism? Discuss. (10)HighLowWestern model is based on absence of religion from public domain. India can't do so. Religion is tightly bound in India's public sphere.Mention constitutional ideas of secularism and how it talks about equal advantages to all the religions.
Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (15)LowLowSimple question. Just define and list out the challenges of the industry.Making a map of the relevant areas will fecth additonal marks.
Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times. (10)LowLowAsked because of 150th year.Make it very contemporary and non obvious. Go beyond non violence (communalism, lynching). Include Gandhian governnace model as well.
“The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system.” How can it be made effective in urban areas? (15)LowLowExplain the idea of Rain Water Harvesting as an alternate to groundwater usage. Suggest why it is the suitable alternative? Then come to the urban areas and the effectiveness.Innovative ideas like using organizational buildings, malls etc will get you additional marks.
“Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment. (10)HighMediumNeed to have a non pejortive and open mind about caste. Don't write it in negative sense. Caste can lead to good kind of consolidation as well.Give the examples of new formations of caste based groupings. (Online caste based wedding portals, facebook pages etc). More examples, more marks.
Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (10 )MediumHighNeed to understand navigation.Give some technological inputs to get better marks.
Why indentured labour was taken by the British from India to their colonies? Have they been able to preserve their cultural identity over there? (15)LowHighNeed to provide multiple points for this answer. India had more polulation, climate resistance of Indian labourers, caste based social structure. Cultural Identity has been restored as many such countries are led by Indian origin people.Give multiple examples of relevant important people. Leaders, authors etc (Naipaul)
‘Globalisation is generally said to promote cultural homogenisation but due to this cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian society.’ Elucidate.MediumLowGlobalization has been indianized in India. Technology and tradition has started co existing and technology in many cases is helping people stick to traditions.Give many examples. Online "darshan" and prasad of famous temples, caste based marriage websites, easy access of ritual indicators through e commerce etc.
‘Despite implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (10)LowHighDefine poverty properly. Give concrete reasons of lack of sustainance. Don't be over critical. Explin the reduction in poverty and the magnitude of the project.Give a few parameters of poverty. Talk about new reasons of new poor people as well, eg health expenses. this will link the Ayushman Bharat to it as well.
What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem? (10)LowMediumVery simple question. Even if you have not read it, you can guess the correct answer.Explain the dead zone. Then go to consequence. It will help if you can explain the actual experience of any one real dead zone.
Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics. (10)HighHighSimple knowledge based question. You must know what it is.Drawing a net diagram will get extra marks. Always draw in such questions.
What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics. (15)LowLowDefine industrial corridors, list out their importance in creatng excellent and focussed manufacturing units.Draw a map of the corridors. Also try to bring in the ideology of Make in India to reinforce the importnce of them.
Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India and explain the nature of convergence, collaboration and competition for its success. (15)LowHighNo analysis required. Simple factual answer required.-

About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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