UPSC GS Paper 4 is titled “Integrity, Ethics and Aptitude” and includes several sections such as Ethics and Human aptitude, attitude, Interface, foundational values of civil services, and governance code of conduct. The commission evaluates the candidate’s problem-solving and integrity approach on a variety of issues and conflicts in society through this paper.

The UPSC GS Paper 4 2021 question paper, preparation strategy, and booklist for UPSC GS Paper 4 for Civil Services Examination have been discussed in this article. We also talked about how to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination GS Paper 4! Let’s get going.

Also Read: UPSC Mains 2021 Paper: Check Out All the GS Questions Papers of UPSC 2021

UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 4

From the civil services examination in 2013, GS Paper-4, titled Integrity, Ethics, and Aptitude, was introduced as part of mains syllabus reforms. The official UPSC syllabus provides broad guidelines for what UPSC is looking for in this paper.

This paper is divided into two sections, each worth 125 points: Section A and Section B. Section A contains theoretical questions that are primarily of an applied nature.

Case studies make up Section B.

Both sections necessitate distinct strategies. Overall, scoring in an ethics paper is a game of self-awareness, keywords, and the ability to project oneself as a productive and pragmatic individual who is committed to professional and personal ethics.

The examination is of a generalist nature. Until now, UPSC has asked questions that require the use of common sense while adhering to ethical principles.

UPSC Mains 2021 GS 4 Question Paper

Question 1

Q1. (a) Identify five ethical traits on which one can plot the performance of a civil servant. Justify their inclusion in the matrix. (Answer in 150 words)

(b)   Identify ten essential values that are needed to be an effective public servant. Describe the ways and means to prevent unethical behaviour in public servants. (Answer in 150 words)

Question 2

 Q2. (a)   Impact of digital technology as a reliable source of input for rational decision making is a debatable issue. Critically evaluate with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words)

(b)  Besides domain knowledge, a public official needs innovativeness and creativity of a high order as well, while resolving ethical dilemmas. Discuss with suitable examples. (Answer in 150 words)

Question 3

Q3. What does each of the following quotations mean to you?

(a) “Every work has to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.-Swami Vivekananda (Answer in 150 words)

(b) “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until and unless we obtain peace within ourselves.” – Dalai Lama                                                                          (Answer in 150 words)

(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 (Answer in 150 word)

Also Read: UPSC Mains Essay Paper: Check Out the Information to Excel the UPSC CSE!

Question 4

 Q4. (a) Attitude is an important component that goes as input in the development of humans. How to build a suitable need for a public servant?  (Answer in 150 words)

(b) In the case of a 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. (Answer in 150 words)

Question 5

 Q5. (a) “Refugees should not be turned back to the country where they would face persecution or human rights violation.” Examine the statement with reference to the ethical dimension being violated by the nation claiming to be democratic with an open society. (Answer in 150 words)

(b)    Should being impartial and being non-partisan be considered indispensable qualities to make a successful civil servant? Discuss with illustrations. (Answer in 150 words)

Question 6

 Q6. (a) An independent and empowered social audit mechanism is an absolute must in every sphere of public service, including the judiciary, to ensure performance,  accountability and ethical conduct.

Elaborate. (Answer in 150 words)

(b)  “Integrity is a value that empowers the human being.” Justify with suitable illustration.  (Answer in 150 words)

Paragraph 1: Question 7

Sunil is a young civil servant and has a reputation for his competence, integrity, dedication and relentless pursuit of difficult and onerous jobs. Considering his profile, he was picked up by his bosses to handle a very challenging and sensitive assignment. He was posted in a tribal-dominated district notorious for illegal sand mining.

Excavating sand from the river belt and transporting it through trucks and selling them on the black market was rampant. This illegal sand mining mafia was operating with the support of local functionaries and tribal musclemen who in turn were bribing selected poor tribals and had kept the tribals under fear and intimidation.

Paragraph 2: Question 7

Sunil being a sharp and energetic officer immediately grasped the ground realities and the modus operandi followed by the mafia through their devious and dubious mechanism.

On making inquiries, he gathered that some of their own office employees are hand in glove with them and have developed a close unholy nexus. Sunil initiated stringent action against them and started conducting raids on their illegal operations of the movement of trucks filled with sand. The mafia got rattled as not many officers in the past had taken such steps against the mafia.

Some of the office employees who were allegedly close to the mafia informed them that the officer is determined to clean up the mafia’s illegal sand mining operations in that district and may cause them irreparable damage.

Paragraph 3: Question 7

The mafia turned hostile and launched a counter-offensive. The tribal musclemen and mafia started threatening him with dire consequences. His family  (wife and old mother) were stalked and were under virtual surveillance and thus causing mental torture, agony and stress to all of them.

The matter assumed serious proportions when a muscle man came to his office and threatened him to stop raids, etc., otherwise, his fate will not be different from some of his predecessors (ten years back one officer was killed by the mafia).

Question 7

Identify the different options available to Sunil in attending to this situation.

Critically evaluate each of the options listed by you.

Which of the above, do you think, would be the most appropriate for Sunil to adopt and why? (Answer in 250 words)

Also Read: How to Write a Philosophical Essay for UPSC? Learn Some Pointers to Ace the Exam

UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 4 Analysis

This paper emphasised the importance of conceptual understanding in areas such as values, ethics, and aptitude, among others. Rather than focusing on theory, many questions sought examples from candidates. The game-changer will be one of the examples.

Several times over, read the UPSC syllabus and previous year’s question papers. Prepare self-notes for each keyword (for example, “crisis of conscience,” which was mentioned several times).

For those aspirants who carefully examined the previous year’s UPSC question papers, there are no major surprises this year. The trends in this year’s paper were similar to those in the previous year’s paper.

The Ethics paper should be taken seriously if you want to get a good grade. It necessitates a different approach to preparation. Success requires not only conceptual knowledge but also appropriate practice and time management.

UPSC Exam Preparation

This is one of the most highly rated papers on the Main Exam. To effectively prepare this paper, define and write about 100-150 words for each of the micro-topics such as compassion, honesty, integrity, and probity, for example. This could be used to write answers to a variety of topics. Let’s take a look at the preparation strategy for each of the UPSC GS Paper 4’s major components:

Also Read: UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 1: Let’s Check Out the Paper and Tricks to Ace the UPSC Mains!

Ethics and Integrity

Make a mental note of any concepts that are relevant to the ethics and integrity topics. While writing the answers to this paper, knowledge of the grammar and jargon of ethics and integrity will be beneficial. Niraj Kumar’s Lexicon for Integrity, Ethics, and Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV is a good place to start.

Governance and Emotional Intelligence

Preparing topics under governance and emotional intelligence should take a similar approach. This area is where questions about how civil servants put ethics into practice are asked. As a result, when answering questions in this area, use your analytical mind.

Thinkers, Philosophers, Literature and Theories

Corresponding to social philosophers/thinkers and leaders such as Plato, Rousseau, Swami Vivekanand, Aristotle, Kautilya (Chanakya), Ashoka, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Nelson Mandela, Dayanand Saraswati, Martin Luther King, Ambedkar, Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, M.N Roy, Deen Dyal Upadhyay, Narayan Guru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa, Rabindranath Tagore, Ram Manohar Lohiya, and Sardar Patel must be read briefly. This will enable you to answer the questions and topics in this paper very effectively.


This paper’s main takeaway is that it assesses the candidate’s honesty and integrity, as well as their problem-solving and conflict-resolution abilities.

This paper heavily relies on case studies, which are the most high-scoring sections. Aspirants should be able to analyse their own reactions to a variety of situations and apply the concepts covered in this paper to their reactions and actions in a variety of situations when dealing with their social circle.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with all the information and analysis of the 2021 GS 2 Paper. For more hop onto UPSC Pathshala.

Also Read: UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 2: Let’s Analyse the Question Paper and Prepare for 2022

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UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 4: Let’s Prepare for UPSC 2022 by Solving Previous Years’ Papers
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UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 4: Let’s Prepare for UPSC 2022 by Solving Previous Years’ Papers
There are four general studies papers, with each of the papers carrying 250 marks, and it is very important to prepare thoroughly for each of the papers. Let’s look at 2021 GS paper 4.
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Amiksha Kantam

Amiksha is a budding Content Writer. A young writer who has written over 250 poems and quotes and also an author of a famous Wattpad novel named “Ma and the Magical Kingdom” and always sets her goals high with her determination like the sky. Her mother is her inspiration and her family is her biggest support. She has her interest in writing, reading novels and craft. She has developed her hardworking and disciplined persona from her mother. She is very out going and loves travelling, trekking and hiking. She believes in the quote “Creativity lies in actions not experience

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