Are you looking for the UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 3? Find the GS 3 question paper, analysis and preparation tips to crack the exam. This part is one of the 9 subjective UPSC Mains papers. To do well in this exam, you must have good composing speed with great brainstorming skills.

This article will provide you with the syllabus, question paper, question paper analysis and some preparation tips. Read carefully and note down the important points.

UPSC Exam Mains GS Paper 3 Syllabus

Check out the table below to get the detailed syllabus of UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 3

Topic Subtopic

Indian Economy

Issues related to planning

Mobilization of resources




Inclusive Growth

Inclusive growth

Issues arising from or related to inclusive growth


Government Budgeting

Major Crops and Cropping Patterns

Major crops and cropping pattern in different parts of the country

Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

Transport and marketing of agricultural produce

Issues related to transport and marketing of agricultural produce

E- technology in the aid of farmers

Subsidies, Poverty Alleviation and Agricultural Technology

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies

Issues related to Minimum Support Prices

Public Distribution System





Issues related to buffer stocks and food security

Technology missions

Economics of Animal rearing

Food Processing and Related Industries

Food processing and related industries in India

Scope and significance


Upstream and downstream requirements

Supply chain management

Land Reforms

Land reforms in India


Effects of Liberalization on the economy

Changes in industrial policy

Effects of changes in industrial policy on industrial growth






Railways etc.


Investment models such as Public-Private Partnerships, Build Operate Transfer etc.

Science and Technology

Developments in Science and Technology

Applications of scientific developments in everyday life

Effects of scientific developments in everyday life

Achievements of Indians in Science and Technology

Important contributions of Indians in Science and Technology

Indigenization of technology

Developing new technology indigenously

General Awareness

Awareness in the following fields:







Issues related to Intellectual Property

Rights in these fields



Environmental pollution and degradation

Environmental Impact Assessment

Disaster Management


Disaster Management


Linkages between development and spread of extremism

Role of state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Challenges to Internal Security through communication networks:

Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

Basics of Cyber Security

Money laundering and its prevention

Security challenges and their management in border areas:

Linkages of organized crime with terrorism

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 3 Instructions

# Total Marks: 250 marks, Time duration: 3 hours.

# There are 20 questions printed both in ENGLISH and HINDI.

# All questions are compulsory.

# The number of marks carried by a question/part is printed against it.

# Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the admission certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this question-cum-answer (QCA) booklet in the space provided

# No marks will be given for answers written in the medium other than the authorized one.

# 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.

# Keep the word limit indicated in the questions in mind.

# Any page or portion of the page left blank, must be struck off clearly.

# The content of the answer is more important than its length.

UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 3 Question Paper

Also Read: UPSC 2022 Application Form: Last Date of Notification & Guide on How to Fill the Form

UPSC Exam Mains GS Paper 3 Question 1 to 10

Q1: Explain the difference between the computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. (Ans in 150 words)

Q2: Distinguish between Capital Budget and Revenue Budget. Explain the components of both these Budgets. (Ans in 150 words)

Q3: How did land reforms in some parts of the country help to improve the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers? (Ans in 150 words)

Q4: How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (Ans in 150 words)

Q5: How is the S-400 air defence system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world? (Ans in 150 words)

Q6: 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)? (Ans in 150 words)

Q7: 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? (Ans in 150 words)

Q8: Discuss 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. (Ans in 150 words)

Q9: 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. (Ans in 150 words)

Q10: Keeping in view India’s internal security, analyse the impact of cross-border cyber attacks. Also, discuss defensive measures against these sophisticated attacks. (Ans in 150 words)

UPSC Exam Mains GS Paper 3 Question 11 to 20

Q11: Do you agree that the Indian economy has recently experienced V- shapes recovery? Give reasons in support of your answer. (Ans in 250 words)

Q12: “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth.” Discuss in the light of India’s experience. (Ans in 250 words)

Q13: 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? (Ans in 250 words)

Q14: What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification? (Ans in 250 words)

Q15: What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of society? (Ans in 250 words)

Q16: The Nobel Prize in Physics of 2014 was jointly awarded to Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura for the invention of Blue LEDs in the 1990s. How has this invention impacted the everyday life of human beings? (Ans in 250 words)

Q17: 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 at this conference? (Ans in 250 words)

Q18: Describe the various causes and effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (Ans in 250 words)

Q19: 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. (Ans in 250 words)

Q20: Analyse 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. (Ans in 250 words)

UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 3 Analysis


Year Number of Questions
2013 8
2014 7
2015 6
2016 6
2017 6
2018 5
2019 4
2020 4


Year Number of Questions
2013 4
2014 2
2015 2
2016 3
2017 4
2018 4
2019 4
2020 4

Science & Technology

Year Number of Questions
2013 5
2014 3
2015 6
2016 3
2017 2
2018 3
2019 4
2020 4

Environment & Ecology

Year Number of Questions
2013 2
2014 2
2015 1
2016 3
2017 2
2018 4
2019 2
2020 3

Also Read: UPSC Epfo 2022: Check Out the Details and Information about the Most Prestigious Exam!


Year Number of Questions
2013 5
2014 3
2015 4
2016 4
2017 4
2018 3
2019 4
2020 4

Disaster Management

Year Number of Questions
2013 2
2014 1
2015 1
2016 1
2017 1
2018 1
2019 2
2020 1

Preparation Tips for UPSC Exam Mains GS Paper 3

Know The Syllabus

You should be familiar with all of the topics covered in the UPSC Mains curriculum. You can distinguish between crucial and unimportant things to cover for Mains preparation by knowing Syllabus elements. Make it a habit to have your Mains curriculum on your study table; this will assist you in reading key subject themes.

Improve Your Ability to Write Answers

Writing top quality responses is the most important aspect of the IAS mains exam. To do well in the Mains exam, you must practise a large number of questions. So, to strengthen your answer writing skills, make it a practice to write one or more answers on a regular basis.

Keep Up to Date on Current Events

UPSC emphasises current events and topics in all of its exams, including prelims, mains, and interviews. You should always be informed about current events taking place throughout the world. GS Paper 2 and 3 questions in the Main examination are based on current events. In addition, keeping up with current events will help you compose your optional subjects for the Mains.

Give Equal Importance

Many applicants just cover a portion of the syllabus, leaving only a few topics for GS and optional. Always make an effort to cover all of the topics on the Mains syllabus. It is often assumed that you should be familiar with all of the topics included in the curriculum.

Concentrate on the Essay Portion

Makes it a practice to write about one essay topic every week. In the Mains test, the essay paper is one of the deciding elements. To do well on an essay paper, you must rehearse a large number of essays on a variety of topics.


It is never easy to achieve success. It takes a lot of effort to get a taste of it. Make a daily schedule for yourself and stick to it. It is not required that you read for 9 to 10 hours on a daily basis. However, attempt to make a study plan and stick to it; this will help you prepare for the exam.

Check out the special full-packed UPSC courses from UPSC Pathshala to easily prepare for the exam.

Also Read: UPSC CDS 2022 Application Form: Important Dates, Application Form, Test Centre & More

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About the Author

Madhurjya Chowdhury

Madhurjya Chowdhury, a web content writer in Ufaber EduTech has a very strong passion for writing and alluring the readers. You can find him writing articles for the betterment of exam aspirants and children. With immense interest in research-based content writing and copywriting, he likes to reach out to more and more people with his creative writing style. On the other side, he is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from LPU, Jalandhar. In his leisure time, he likes to play badminton or read about space discoveries. Apart from this, he is a pro gamer on PC, PS and Mobile gaming platforms.

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